Futuristic travel: Montreal team to build high-tech hyperloop pod prototype

It's the futuristic way to travel: a Hyperloop is a high-speed pod travelling through a vacuum-tube using magnetic resistance to travel over 1000 kilometres per hour.

The project, started by Elon Musk in 2013, is the latest pursuit for a group of students at Polytechnique Montreal.

Polyloop, which is also the first Quebec university team to take a crack at the ultrafast transit tech, is developing a prototype of a pod for people to ride in.

“Our project is really to develop and push technology to its maximum and see where it can go,” said team-leader Francois Carrier, a fourth year mechanical engineering student.

The Polyloop team is made up of 50 people, and each person gets to work on the area of their expertise. As they collaborate on this prototype pod, they're also pioneering plans for propulsion, levitation and aerodynamics for the new technology.

With few Hyperloop inventions of this caliber to study, the research being done at Polytechnique could become the textbook for future classes.

“We're working really hard with professors at school, especially this linear induction motor,” said Carrier.

“It's a new technology and there's not much paper on that, so really we're doing research on it and someday maybe they'll teach this in school.”

The price tag for the prototype is $110,000, funded in part by Caisse Desjardins.

With their 3D designs finished, the Polyloop team is aiming to compete in the Hyperloop Pod Competition in California at Space-X in 2022.

The long-term plan is to move people safely in the high-speed pods. But, for now, the pod competition doesn’t include passengers yet.

“We are braking at two g’s (G-force), so it's not possible for the human body to do that,” said Carrier, “and we are travelling inside the tube at 300km an hour.” 

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