TUM Hyperloop has set a new speed record of 463 km/h (288 mph) at the fourth SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition. The win was announced byHyperloop’s official Twitter account. Afterconfirming the speed record, Elon Musk announced that next year’s competition will take place in a10 km vacuum tunnel with a curverather than the current 1 mile (1.6 km) straight above-ground tube at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
Although the win was another step forward for the theoretical transportation technology, TUM only beat the previous record by 4 mph, far short of the technology’stheoretical 760 mph max speed. The previous record was set by the same team (then known as WARR Hyperloop), inlast year’s competition.
Next year’s@Hyperloopcompetition will be in a 10km vacuum tunnel with a curve
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk)July 22, 2019
TUM hadoriginally hopedto hit a much higher speed of 373 mph, or roughly half the speed of sound, with a pod that doubled the power output of last year’s prototype. However,Tesleratireportsthat the pod was forced to come to an emergency stop after it suffered visible damage. At just 1.7 meters long and weighing 70 kg, the prototype is still a fraction of the size of what the eventual passenger-ready Hyperloop pods will be.
Musk’s newly proposed tunnel will be a big change for future competitions. At 10 km long it would be over five times longer thanall threeof the current Hyperloop test tracks, and the inclusion of a curve would bring it far closer to what Hyperloop tracks will have to be like in the real world. The new tunnel would likely introduce additional challenges for the team’s competing in the competition.
However, for now, it seems the new track is firmly in the theoretical stages of planning, and it’s unclear where it will end up being located. On stage at this year’s competition,TechCrunchreportsthat Elon Musk and Boring Company President Steve Davis discussed only a minor extension of the current test track by around 200 meters. Confusingly, they also discussed having the Boring Company build another longer tunnel, according toTechCrunch, but suggested that this one would be straight rather than curved, and would be built within the next three years rather than by 2020.