- Mike Blake/Reuters
- Elon Musk’s SpaceX held its annual Hyperloop pod race on Sunday.
- Teams of college engineers raced pods through a specially built tunnel by SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
- A team from the Technical University of Munich won the competition for the fourth year in a row. Its pod reached a top speed of 288 mph, though some parts broke off while it was whizzing through the tunnel.
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A team of German engineers won Elon Musk’s underground pod-racing competition once again.
For the past four years, Musk’s company SpaceX has run the Hyperloop pod race for college engineers. It takes place in a roughly mile-long tunnel by its headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
Teams of engineers see who can build the pod that can be whisked through the tunnel fastest. The past three races were won by a team of engineers from the Technical University of Munich, and this year was no exception.
Team TUM Hyperloop (formerly known as WARR Hyperloop) built a pod that zoomed through the tunnel at a top speed of 288 mph, setting a record after reaching 284 mph last year.
It was awarded first place, though the pod experienced what one observer described as “rapid unplanned disassembly.”
Team TUM achieved 299mph (482km/h) in the Hyperloop prior to the pod rapid unplanned disassembly. The brakes stopped it immediately, they’re designed to work even if loss of power. The crowd and team were ecstatic! @SuperclusterHQ @TUM_Hyperloop @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/hTJPgFyTTx
— TomCross (@_TomCross_) July 21, 2019
TUM Hyperloop also said the pod “lost some parts on the way.”
We are happy to announce that we have reached a top speed of 463 km/h today. Although we lost some parts on the way, we were able to successful finish our run and are proud to be the winners of the 2019 SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition.
Break a pod 😉 @SpaceX @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/GNrH5Ct2qu
— TUM Hyperloop (@TUM_Hyperloop) July 22, 2019
Hyperloop, part of Musk’s high-speed-transportation ambitions, is bound up with the Boring Company, Musk’s tunnel-digging company, which got its first paying client in May.
Conceptually, the Hyperloop is a sealed tunnel system that would allow pods with freight or passengers to travel through at high speed and with little air resistance.
Following the competition, Musk said on Twitter that next year the tunnel would be 10 kilometers, or just over 6 miles.
Next year’s @Hyperloop competition will be in a 10km vacuum tunnel with a curve
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 22, 2019
According to TechCrunch, that would be at odds with Boring Company President Steve Davis saying earlier in the competition that the Hawthorne test tunnel could take an additional 200 meters.