The American entrepreneur Elon Mask has set his sets on revolutionising the transport system, and according to his vision this will involve transport pods travelling through a vacuum tube at speeds of 1,200 kilometres per hour. The project – dubbed the Hyperloop – is meant to transport both people and goods.
Musk’s company SpaceX launched a competition for the pod’s development. Not only was the Zurich-designed Escher transport pod chosen as one of the eligible competitors, it just came in third place at Sunday’s race. As the Los Angeles Daily News reported, the Zurich transport pod reached speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour (64 kilometres per hour) on a test track in the Californian desert.
Escher was developed by researchers at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, but the idea is being driven by the association Swissloop, which was founded in October 2016. It acts like a commercial enterprise and is headed up by the 23-year-old ETH student Luca Di Tizio. High-profile industry partners, including Georg Fischer, provide money and materials for Swissloop's work.
The fastest pod was built by the Technical University of Munich, hitting a record speed of more than 200 mph (some 234 kph). The second-fastest pod was built by Paradigm Hyperloop, an international group of student engineers, which reached 62 mph (around 100 kph).