CHENNAI: Avishkar Hyperloop — the 27 member student team from IIT-M and the only Asian team to qualify for the Space X hyperloop pod competition 2019 — has made a promising debut in the global competition.
Sponsored by SpaceX, the hyperloop pod competition sees the brightest minds from around the world, present their subscale prototype pods demonstrating the technical feasibility of the hyperloop concept every year. The final round (testing and evaluation of the actual prototype), takes place at the SpaceX headquarters in California, US, and the fastest pod wins the competition.
This year's competition held on July 21 saw the best 21 teams from the participating 1,600 plus teams battle it out for the coveted trophy. Though the competition was won by the German team TUM, Avishkar, put forth an impressive performance. They cleared more than half of the 120 + odd tests, placing themselves over several other finalists.
The team also interacted with Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, and put forth their ideas to develop an indigenous hyperloop pod in India. Musk also revealed that he plans to bring Tesla to the country in about a year. Discussing the future of the competition, he told students that next year's competition will feature a challenging 10-km vacuum tube with a turn. (The current track is about 1.25 km )
Expressing their excitement, Dr S.R. Chakravarthy, faculty advisor, Avishkar Hyperloop, and professor, department of aerospace engineering, IIT Madras, said, “For the faculty mentors, Prof. Muruganandam and I, it was like having sent astronauts to the moon and staying back at mission control on earth! At one point, our team was positioned 8th and were looking to forge ahead towards the top 5, but couldn't succeed in the end. It's a valiant effort, and we hope to better ourselves and come up on top the next time.
“It was a wonderful experience, being present in such a competitive environment for the last week. We have learnt a lot this year and will make sure to implement those in the upcoming iterations of Avishkar Hyperloop” said Suyash Singh, student team head, Avishkar Hyperloop of their experience.
Pranit Mehta, upcoming head of Avishkar Hyperloop, said that there were several decisions that had to be taken in the last minute, owing to the circumstances and approval plans. Seeing how other experienced teams had planned their competition week, we also got alternative ideas to approach different situations.”
He also highlighted the importance of future teams to learn from the setbacks and perform better.
The Avishkar team will now focus on developing this technology in India. They also will be attempting to incorporate magnetic levitation into the pod and increase the speed of the pod. A testing track is currently being built, with an open-air track already complete. They will now be working on building a vacuum tube around, and testing it further, which might take one more year to get developed.