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Space-age technology Swiss team to compete in Elon Musk's Hyperloop competition

the pod in a tube

Swissloop's new transport capsule prototype is named "Mujinga", after a Swiss athlete.

(Keystone)

After coming third last year, a team from federal technology institute ETH Zurich will again compete this July in Elon Musk’s “Hyperloop Pod Competition” in Los Angeles. 

Swissloop, an association of students from ETH Zurich and other Swiss universities presented on Wednesday their new transport capsule for the competition, named “Mujinga”, after Swiss athlete Mujinga Kambundji. 

“This year’s transport capsule is powered by four electric motors,” says ETH Zurich in a press release. “Together they generate over 540 hp, approximately two-and-a-half times the capacity of a Bugatti sports car. "

SpaceX founder Musk wants to use the competition to advance his Hyperloop vision that people and goods will one day be transported by vacuum tubes at almost the speed of sound. The teams presenting the most promising concepts will be able to test their transport capsules (“pods”) for a week on the SpaceX site. Only the three best pods will travel through the 1.25-kilometre long vacuum tube on July 22 and the fastest one will win. 

Over 1,000 teams from all over the world have applied to take part, and 20 have qualified for the competition. This is the second time that Swissloop has qualified. 

+ Read about last year’s Swissloop prototype, “Escher”

Last year, the winning team from Munich reached a speed of 323 km/h. ETH Zurich came an honourable third but its capsule attained only 40  km/h when it should have reached 400 km/h. 

“We learnt a great deal this year and we were able to test all our subsystems in advance, unlike last year,” says Ilyas Besler, ETH Zurich student and Lead Technical of Swissloop. “We are looking forward to Los Angeles, but our long-term goal goes way beyond this competition.” 

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