The full size pod will have a capacity of 26 passengers per pod, interior diameter of 2 meters, top speed around 1220 km/h and cost around $500,000 per pod, with the option of connecting numerous pods into a longer train.
The prototype is 1320 mm wide (52”), 850 mm high (34”), 3100 mm long (122”) and will be 700kg in weight, require 1.5 kW of power, travel at 335 km/hr (208mph), and cost approximately $48 000.
The designed air caster levitation system will be able to handle a total of 12 000 lbs using the entire 2 x 2 array. The pod’s dead load is expected to be approximately1500 lbs. The absence of a safety factor means that the pod is theoretically capable of lifting more than 6 times its own weight. Adding a safety factor of 2 means that it is capable of lifting approximately 5 000 lbs.
The Challenge: This project is the response by a group of dedicated University of Waterloo students to the SpaceX Hyperloop pod challenge to independently design and build a prototype Hyperloop pod to be tested on a one-mile test track in Hawthorne, California in the summer of 2016.
The Concept: The conceptual pod design demonstrates a full scale version of our prototype at its maximum potential. The first proposition is that the performance of the pod may be optimized by creating a perfectly circular lateral section, allowing the pod to roll at corners, thereby allowing it to take turns without reducing speed or causing passengers to sway unnecessarily. Therefore, this design feature will save energy, time, and improve passenger comfort. Secondly the diamond-lattice patterning of the skin is reflective of the underlying geodetic structure which allows for the possibility of lightening the weight of the hull through accepting shear forces onto the structural members, rather than the skin alone. The windows of the interior are arranged to create a unifying experience as passengers share glimpses of wide panoramic views, rather than a singular, isolated window. The rounded form, interior mirrors designed to resemble the windows, and white colouring all work together to make the space feel larger in a design situation where space is extremely restricted. The front end of the pod features a funnel like shape which would be used to collect the small amount of low pressure air in front of the train to eliminate air drag and supply air for the compressor which supplies the air casters for levitation. The windows are placed along diagrid lines to infill between the structure below and LED lighting at diagrid intersection lines illuminates in animated helical waves. The matte black finish departs from contemporary transit imagery and signals in the new era of Hyperloop transit.
The Prototype: Our prototype design focuses on a minimalist design philosophy while retaining strict safety considerations. By selecting a minimalist design, it reduces the manufacturing and design complexity, cost, and mass, while similarly permits an effective travel speed and increases reliability. Our attempt to build the pod with off-the-shelf components wherever we can allows for greater ability to scale the project up to full size and reduced cost. Furthermore, the flexibility provided by a modular design allows for additional functionality and aesthetics to be included without significantly modifying the pod’s design.