A levitating Hyperloop pod for Valencia

The brand new Swissloop pod at the ceremonial roll-out together with the promine

The brand new Swissloop pod at the ceremonial roll-out together with the prominent namesake Simon Ammann (right). Photos: Swissloop

Two years after Elon Musk’s last Hyperloop Pod Competition in California, Swissloop, a team of students from ETH Zurich, has joined forces with three other teams to launch the European Hyperloop Week. In mid-July, the Swissloop team will travel to Valencia with their latest pod developed at Empa and exchange ideas with researchers and industry representatives about a possible implementation of the Hyperloop concept.

It is a truly unforgettable moment in Swiss sports history: The young ski jumper Simon Ammann pushes off from the takeoff bar, races toward the jumping table, takes off - and flies. Farther than any of his fellow competitors to take a double victory at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Now, almost 20 years later, the student team of Swissloop is inspired by Amman’s flight of fancy: The latest pod bears the ski jumper’s name and shares another important characteristic with him: It flies.

In 2013, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk first presented his concept of a Hyperloop, a kind of vacuum pipeline for transporting goods and people. Since then, student teams from all over the world have competed in annual competitions to develop high-speed vehicles - so-called pods - for travel in these low-pressure tubes. Successfully among them: students from ETH Zurich, who had entered the competition in new constellations and with a new pod every year until 2019. In the Corona year 2020, the event had to be canceled, and for this year Musk has launched a new competition, which, however, is no longer about Hyperloop vehicles (see box). For the pod builders of Swissloop, there will thus be no trip to the USA this year - but to Valencia instead.

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