Dutch team hopes to bring home Hyperloop award in California, as Jim Drury reports.
Elon Musk's futuristic Hyperloop concept was unveiled in 2013... ...a transport system allowing people to travel at almost the speed of sound inside reduced-pressure tubes. To bring the idea closer to reality Musk launched the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod contest. 30 teams, like this one from Delft University of Technology, will test their pods on a mile-long track in California next month. The Delft Hyperloop uses passive magnetic bearing to allow contact-free levitation. SOUNDBITE (English) SASCHA LAMME (PRON: LAR-MA), VEHICLE DYNAMICS CHIEF FOR DELFT HYPERLOOP, SAYING: "What's so nice about it is that these magnets they're not electro-magnets that require current, but they're passive, permanent magnets, so the ones you can put on your fridge, for example - and that makes the entire system very energy efficient. You don't need to put in any power to start levitating. You just gain speed and then the vehicle wants to go up and levitate by itself." The half-size pod prototype weighs just 149 kilograms. It's designed to reach Musk's 750 mile per hour target... ...though the small test track will limit competitors to around half that. The Delft team insists its pod has proved safe in tests. SOUNDBITE (English) SASCHA LAMME (PRON: LAR-MA), VEHICLE DYNAMICS CHIEF FOR DELFT HYPERLOOP, SAYING: "It starts levitating at a height of almost two centimetres. But also our braking system really controls the vehicle very smoothly, to get to a controlled stop, so that all the passengers still feel comfortable....Even when the power is lost in the entire vehicle, the vehicle will come to a quick standstill, so everyone is safe." January's competition winners will hope victory brings them closer to making Elon Musk's high-speed dream a reality.