Hyperloop Broke A Speed Record at SpaceX's 2019 Pod Competition

The new record of 288 mph is only a slight improvement over last year's, but more ambitious tests await in 2020.
Chris Young
A pod entering the HyperloopSpaceX Hyperloop/Flickr

TUM Hyperloop, one of the engineering teams racing to make the incredibly fast theoretical form of transportation a reality, has just beaten their own speed record.

The new 288 mph record — announced on Hyperloop's official Twitter account — was set at the fourth installment of the Hyperloop pod competitions set up by SpaceX.


Fourth-generation hyperloop pods

The Hyperloop official Twitter account announced the new record and congratulated the winning team:

This year's event was the fourth competition in which teams aimed to surpass previous records set by Hyperloop prototypes.

Hyperloop Broke A Speed Record at SpaceX's 2019 Pod Competition
TUM celebrating their new record at this year's pod competition. Source: A. Heddergott/TUM

The new record shows positive progress for the in-development technology. However, the winning team, TUM (previously known as WARR Hyperloop), only surpassed their own record from last year by 4 mph.

This means that Hyperloop is still far away from its ambitious early goal of reaching 760 mph.

Hyperloop Broke A Speed Record at SpaceX's 2019 Pod Competition
A pod entering the Hyperloop in 2017 tests. Source: SpaceX Hyperloop/Flickr

As Teslarati reports, TUM had originally hoped to hit 372 mph at this year's competition by doubling the power output over their iteration from last year's competition.

However, after setting off, the pod suffered visible damage before it pulled off a flawless emergency stop, coming to a halt in less than 100 meters. By that point, it had already beaten the speed record.

TUM's prototype Hyperloop pod measures only 1.7 meters and weighs 70 kg, meaning it is a fraction of the size of what envisioned passenger-ready Hyperloop pods of the future would look like.

Hyperloop Broke A Speed Record at SpaceX's 2019 Pod Competition
Inside the Hyperloop. Source: SpaceX Hyperloop/Flickr

Where next for Hyperloop?

More tests and competitions are set to follow before Hyperloop is anywhere near becoming a reality. One specific detail announced by Elon Musk shows that the competition teams will soon face new challenges.

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The SpaceX, Tesla and Neuralink founder has set an ambitious goal for 2020, which he shared on Twitter:

If this comes true, the new curved test track would be five times longer than all three of the existing straight line Hyperloop test tracks.

We might be a long way off in the quest for Hyperloop becoming an everyday mode of transport, but the tests are ramping up, and there are undoubtedly a lot of breakthroughs ahead for the Hyperloop test teams.

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