SpaceX has released a new video to celebrate their success of the 2018 Hyperloop Pod Competition and they have also opened up registration for next year’s follow-up competition. It will again crown the winning student team with the fastest pod. It is hoped that the 2019 competition may put the 2018 competition to shame, producing the fastest car in history at the speed of 467 km/h. The Technical University of Munich (TUM) student-led operation proved that everyone should watch out for them as they had broken their own 2017 Competition 2-speed record of 324 km/h by nearly 50%.
The forthcoming competition is scheduled to take place during the summer of 2019. The competition has two new major updates to the rules and rule criteria. It will be judged on one criterion: the maximum speed with successful deceleration (i.e. without crashing) and all Pods must be self-propelled. The two new rules are the following:
1. Teams must use their own communications system. SpaceX will not provide its on-Pod communications system, otherwise known as the Network Access Panel (NAP).
2. Pods must be designed and tested to propel themselves to within 100 feet of the far end of the tube before stopping. This can take the form of a single main run to that point, or a “slow crawl” after the Pod’s main run has been completed.
SpaceX is encouraging student teams to become more and more independent. Communication with pods is very difficult and it is something that the upcoming competitors should look forward to facing and solving. SpaceX has definitely added new difficulties with their decision to require pods to either be able to accurately stop with an error of less than 2% the test Hyperloop’s length (100 feet) or be capable of multiple modes of propulsion (i.e. top-speed runs and “slow-crawl” without assistance from its designers). For returning teams, however, it would be required of them to modify their existing pod or design a new pod if they wish to compete in 2019.