Lehigh’s Hyperloop team advances to the final round of the SpaceX Hyperloop competition.

This summer, a group of Lehigh students will compete in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition after placing 10th in the world.

The SpaceX Hyperloop competition began after SpaceX proposed the idea for a high-speed train to operate in California called Hyperloop. Hyperloop would connect Northern and Southern California through an innovative and efficient rail system. The concept caught the attention of different people across the world that wanted to get involved in the process of creating Hyperloop. The competition now opens up a space for teams of students and independent engineering groups to collaborate with SpaceX engineers to launch a design.

The competition began with 1,200 teams that were cut down to 300 after an initial round, and then 120 teams competed in a Design showcase this past January. 22 teams were chosen to advance to the final round where their human-size design will be tested on a mile long track in California. Lehigh landed the 10th spot and will soon be competing against schools, including:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Hyperloop Team (Best Overall Design Award)
  • Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) Hyperloop Team (Pod Innovation Award)
  • Badgerloop, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Pod Technical Excellence Award)
  • Hyperloop at Virginia Tech (Pod Technical Excellence Award)
  • HyperXite, University of California Irvine (Pod Technical Excellence Award)

The team is comprised of students from all three of Lehigh’s undergraduate colleges. Their practical and user-friendly design set them apart from other teams. The team also designed a handicap accessibility system – a feature that other schools didn’t even consider.

For the past month, the team has been working on improving its design alongside SpaceX Engineers to ensure safety and proper logistics of the design prior to building. The group has also been focused on raising $30,000 to complete the pod and build its own testing system. The group has looked to alumni, corporations and Lehigh students to support them in the process, and have currently raised more than $12,000 from nearly 50 different donors.

If you are interesting in supporting the Lehigh Hyperloop team with a donation, or if you are a Lehigh student with "a specific set of skills" you'd like to offer to the group, please contact the team via http://ignite.lehigh.edu/hyperloop.

-Sydney O'Tapi'18 is a student-writer with the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science.

The Lehigh Hyperloop team is one of 22 student teams headed to California this summer to test their Hyperloop prototype design at the world's first test track. (Photo courtesy Lehigh Hyperloop Team)