Swiss students reveal prototype for experimental hyperloop

The Swiss team hopes the pod will attain speeds of 400km/h on the SpaceX track in California swissloop

A pod built by students at Zurich’s Federal Institute of technology (ETHZ) will be competing to be the fastest to navigate the Hyperloop experimental high-speed transportation system in California. 

This content was published on July 28, 2017 - 09:31 and agencies

The Swiss pod, named Escher after the 19th century Swiss entrepreneur Alfred Escher, was unveiled at ETHZ at a ceremony on Thursday. It will be among 27 pods assembled by university students from around the world vying to be the fastest on a 1.25km track built by SpaceX in Hawthorne California.

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Escher was selected from around 1,200 entries thanks to its design. In the second phase of competition that will begin on August 25, only two things matter: maximum speed and no crashes. The Escher pod aims to achieve this by opting for a design that uses compressed air to achieve a rocket-like acceleration when released from a nozzle. Magnets will help the pod levitate to minimise drag. The Swiss team hopes the pod will reach speeds of 400 kilometers per hour (248 miles per hour) on the SpaceX track. 

SpaceX announced the Hyperloop Pod Competition in 2015 to promote student innovation in the transport sector. It is part of the company’s efforts to accelerate the development of a prototype that would embody billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s vision of a high-speed ground transport system called HyperloopExternal link.

Last week, Musk’s project made headlines when he claimed he had received verbal approval from the US government to build a hyperloop system between New York City and Washington, DC.

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