The SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition: Growing the Next Generation of Electronics Designers

Judy Warner
|  Created: September 1, 2017  |  Updated: December 21, 2020

In 2013, when Elon Musk unveiled the concept of the Hyperloop as a future form of transportation, he immediately challenged private industry and universities from around the world to develop the technology and pods. (After all, he has his hands full these days!)

Since that time, SpaceX has hosted two Hyperloop pod competitions consisting of university teams at their headquarters in Torrance, CA. These events afford three lucky teams the chance to earn an opportunity to run their pods inside the near-mile vacuum tube built by SpaceX. About two dozen teams participated in each competition. The high visibility of SpaceX and Musk draws not only talent to the competition, but a wide range of impressive sponsors such as HP and Air Bus, and many of the world’s largest media outlets.

The first event was held in late January 2017 and the other was just last Sunday on August 27, 2017. Altium participated in the event, sponsoring several Hyperloop pod teams by providing its flagship software, Altium Designer®, which is a professional printed board (PCB) design software. For this reason, I was invited to attend Sunday’s competition as the guest of The University of Wisconsin-Madison Badgerloop team--a group predominantly consisting of undergraduates who keep delivering impressive results.

We are proud to contribute in a small way, but the truth is this competition is much bigger than any one company or team’s contribution. Looking around at all the pods, which are covered with sponsor logos, it becomes clear that these teams could not exist without the strong sponsor base and it is the whole community coming together that made this event so impactful. Companies, universities, and most importantly, talented and passionate young electronics designers came together in co-opetition to achieve something that has never been done before.

As they say, a picture (or in this case, a video) is worth a thousand words. So take a look at the video we captured at SpaceX’s Hyperloop competition...then, thank heaven for the contagious passion of this next generation of innovators who are poised to change our world. Though these teams are so grateful for sponsors, at Altium we feel like the lucky ones!


Check out Altium Designer in action...

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About Author

About Author

Judy Warner has held a unique variety of roles in the electronics industry for over 25 years. She has a background in PCB Manufacturing, RF and Microwave PCBs and Contract Manufacturing, focusing on Mil/Aero applications. 

She has also been a writer, blogger, and journalist for several industry publications such as Microwave Journal, PCB007 Magazine, PCB Design007, PCD&F, and IEEE Microwave Magazine, and an active board member for PCEA (Printed Circuit Engineering Association). In 2017, Warner joined Altium as the Director of Community Engagement. In addition to hosting the OnTrack Podcast and creating the OnTrack Newsletter, she launched Altium's annual user conference, AltiumLive. Warner's passion is to provide resources, support, and advocate for PCB Design Engineers worldwide.

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