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Purple pod for Hyperloop
The UW Hyperloop team unveils its pod in a Seattle workshop. (GeekWire Photo / Taylor Soper)

SpaceX’s second Hyperloop competition for student-led teams is coming up in August, with the University of Washington’s crew listed among two dozen contestants.

Hyperloop Pod Competition II, set for Aug. 25-27 at SpaceX’s test track in Hawthorne, Calif., follows up on the first round of pod races that took place in January. The mile-long, low-pressure tube is designed to simulate high-speed transit trips on a scaled-down basis.

Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, came up with the Hyperloop concept four years ago as a means of getting from, say, San Francisco to Los Angeles in just a little more than a half-hour.

At least two ventures, Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, are working on commercializing the technology. Another group, Pacific Hyperloop, is trying to build support for a Seattle-Portland link.

Musk has no role in any of those ventures. The pod races, however, are his creation. The aim is to encourage the next generation of engineers to get involved on the frontiers of transportation.

The UW Hyperloop team had its purple pod ready to go for January’s competition but never got a chance to do a tube run under full-fledged racing conditions. “There just wasn’t enough time to race each of the teams,” David Coven, one of the team’s leaders, told GeekWire at the time.

This time, the UW team and other veterans of the first contest will join with new student teams in a pod race that’ll be judged solely on the basis of speed.

Since January’s contest, UW Hyperloop has been continuing to work on the pod – and just a couple of weeks ago, the team won a $1,000 prize in the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge. The students say they’ve also received a $6,000 prototype build grant from UW’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship.

Bottom line? It sounds as if UW Hyperloop is already a winner.

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