Loading articles...

University of Waterloo's high speed travel 'Waterloop' prototype moves on to SpaceX finals

Last Updated Feb 1, 2017 at 12:01 pm EDT

Photo - https://teamwaterloop.ca/

Do you want to get from Toronto to Montreal in half an hour without having to go through customs or even get on a plane?

Thanks to a team of University of Waterloo engineers, the idea may not be science fiction anymore.

Travelling at up to 1,200 kilometres per hour in a pod through a vacuum tube seems unreal, but that’s what SpaceX is trying to make a reality at it’s worldwide engineering competition.

They held an open call for submissions in September of 2015 and had roughly 1,200 teams sign up.

Since then, there have been two elimination rounds, the most recent of which saw the top 32 teams compete with their pod prototypes in California this past weekend, with only 20 coming out still standing.

Montgomery de Luna is the architectural lead of Waterloop, the team of roughly 100 membersĀ from the University of Waterloo that made the cut and he says this concept could be a game changer.

“The reason why a hyperloop is such a revolutionary idea is that it tries to minimize the amount of energy lost,” says Montgomery de Luna, “We can actually accelerate purely with electricity and that means all of your energy is created sustainably and the system is as efficient as possible.”

This is compared to a plane which takes a lot of energy to take off, and the tube of a hyperloop could eventually be lined with solar panels that could power the whole system.

The next round of finals will take place in California in August, and Montgomery says that no matter who wins, he’s just happy to see teams work together on such a revolutionary and futuristic technology.

“We’re really trying to break ground on this new technology,” says de Luna, “it was complete science fiction only three years ago, and now that there’s a range of 30 prototypes from around the world, it’s no longer just science fiction anymore, the biggest thing is that we’ve made this big leap forward in innovation.”