Waterloop team shows off Hyperloop prototype in California

University of Waterloo's Waterloop team showed off their Hyperloop prototype in California this weekend at an international competition for Hyperloop technology, organized by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

Waterloop the only Canadian team to take part in the SpaceX competition

Work on the Waterloop prototype started in September 2015. This past weekend the team took part in an international competition in California organized by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

Members of the Waterloop team were in California this past weekend showing off their Hyperloop prototype pod in an international competition of innovative levitating Hyperloop train technology, organized by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

Waterloop, now a 150-person team from the University of Waterloo, was the only Canadian team competing against 30 other groups from around the world.

"There have been teams that have shown very well thought designs and that are very well put together so the competition is fierce," said Montgomery de Luna, marketing and shell team lead for Waterloop.

This past weekend was the first of two competitions, where the team's Hyperloop prototype was judged on a variety of different factors, including speed.

Students imagine the ride from the inside.

Sunday, however, was the final day of the competition where the team's pods were being evaluated on a scaled-down test track to see how fast the pods could go.

De Luna said an asset for the team was having previously worked on their own test track, built at Lot 41 in Kitchener, which enabled them to demonstrate their levitation process.

"I think that's been a real strength of our team actually," he said. "Being able to demonstrate the tests that we had already done on our own and [then] demonstrate some of the pod's functionality in person."

Spirit of innovation

For de Luna and team captain Yazan Obeidi, one of the highlights of the competition was the collaboration and "spirit of innovation" from the other contestants.

"One of the biggest things is being able to talk to the other teams, everyone is very nice and helpful and eager to discuss their designs and why they made different trade-offs," Obeidi said.

"That ability of being able to talk with people who have also been dedicating enormous amounts of hours per week on this pursuit."

Second round in August

SpaceX judges gave the Waterloop team feedback and suggestions on their prototype. Obeidi and de Luna are confident they will have a stronger pod for the second competition coming up this August.

"It was very useful to align what we learned from competition one, to bring on the pod that we will raise for competition two," he said.