Rail, road and aviation transport are becoming more and more of an issue due to on-growing problems of congestion, increasing emissions of climate gases and air (as well as noise) pollution. The hunt for a suitable alternative has been on for a while now. Since one of the possible solutions lies in re-vitalization of the rail, Hyperloop with ultrafast subsonic trains just might be the answer. SpaceX is holding an open design competition to develop suitable carriers.
Hyperloop is, according to founder of PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX Elon Musk, »not a vacuum tunnel, but is a cross between Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table«. Musk already revealed his futuristic concept in 2013 and proposed that Hyperloop would transport commuters by blasting floating pods through long tubes at incredibly high speeds, supposedly over 750 mph (1,200 km/h).
With that in mind, travelling with Hyperloop from Los Angeles should make you reach San Francisco in a little more than 30 minutes. A car would require over five hours to make the same 560 kilometers long trip.
While SpaceX is not developing a commercial Hyperloop themselves, they are announcing an open competition, geared towards engineering teams of university students and independent, non-profit engineering teams, to design and build the best Hyperloop pod. To support this competition, Musk's SpaceX will construct a one-mile test track adjacent to their Hawthorne, California headquarters.
Deadline to sign up for the competition is September 15, 2015. After that, applicants will have one year to develop their ideas and prepare themselves for testing their human-scale pods during a competition weekend at the track. Data from the tests will be gathered and open-sourced.