Elon Musk told the world about his idea for the hyperloop transportation project, while insisting he didn’t have time to pursue such a fanciful idea. Maybe Musk is having second thoughts though, as his other pet project, SpaceX, has already announced it will be building a hyperloop test track near its Hawthorne, CA headquarters.
But the hyperloop is just one half of the equation, with the people-carrying pods being the other half. Rather than design its own hyperloop pod, SpaceX has announced a design “competition” open to university and independent design teams. There’s no prize mentioned, and all designs are expected to be open source, but the prestige that would come from taking part in such a high-profile contest is hard to put a price tag on.
That said, SpaceX and Elon Musk are still reassuring everyone that the hyperloop project is an entirely separate entity with its own funding and engineering team. Even so, SpaceX seems quite vested in the project, with specific contest guidelines emerging for half-scale pod concepts in August, with initial project examination scheduled for January 2016. Testing of the pod concepts would begin in earnest later on in 2016 so that use of the one-mile test track can get underway.