Designing Tomorrow’s Transportation – Panasonic Industry and WARR Hyperloop
On July 22nd the WARR Hyperloop team from the Technical University in Munich (TUM) did it: they won the third international annual SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition in Los Angeles. The pod from the WARR Hyperloop team reached a final speed of 467km/h, thereby improving their performance from 2017 by almost 50%. It is already the third consecutive time the team has won a trophy at the competition.
SpaceX announced the Hyperloop Pod Competition in 2015. The competition’s goal is to support the development of functional prototypes and encourage innovation by challenging student teams to design and build the best high-speed Pod. An academia-industry interface is crucial for success in this endeavour. This interface needs to be characterized by an interactive and collaborative exchange between academic institutions and the industrial sector. This is especially important if there is no real reference design available yet but if it has to be started from scratch.
The Hyperloop Concept
But let's start at the beginning: For years Californian political and business leaders have discussed the merits of a high-speed rail system between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Frustrated by the debate and alarmed by the costs, environmental impact and energy requirements for this new rail line, Elon Musk, the well-known entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX, proposed a radical new mode of transportation: Hyperloop. The idea behind Hyperloop is simple: propel passengers between cities at speeds of over 970km/h in capsules that float in partial vacuum tubes. With less air resistance, pods can reach and maintain supersonic speeds – powered entirely by solar energy - transporting passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in just 30 minutes.
While the idea may be simple, the engineering isn’t. Therefore in June 2015, SpaceX announced an open competition for independent and university engineering teams to design a half-scale Hyperloop pod and have it tested on a track at SpaceX. What started out as Elon Musk’s ambitious, possibly far-fetched, the concept has transformed into the next obvious step for transportation. Students and engineers around the world have taken on the technical challenges involved ensuring that nothing stands in the way of implementing a full-scale Hyperloop, thus delivering a fundamentally better transportation future.
Panasonic Industry and WARR Hyperloop
Panasonic’s sensor, resistor, as well as relay products used in the 2018 pod from the WARR Hyperloop team, played an essential role in achieving the goals of miniaturization and increased efficiency. Various different sensors guarantee the safety and monitor the performance of the pod. Reliable and safe thick film chip resistors provide advantages in the critical areas of security and reliability for our electronic battery control systems.