SpaceX and Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk, who is the driving force behind the Hyperloop competition, took the opportunity to sit in the Badgerloop pod while touring the various team's booths.
A final phase of the competition is set for this summer, and all 30 of the teams selected for this trial will be potentially able to compete there, even if they couldn't pass the tests to run their pods this time around.
Over the course of last weekend (27-29 January), three teams from MIT, Delft University in the Netherlands and WARR from the Technical University of Munich demonstrated their pods on a SpaceX test track one mile (1.6km) in length. The team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology bagged the top "Best Overall Design Award" a year ago, followed by Auburn University and the Delft University of Technology from the Netherlands. MIT's team won the award for safety and reliability, which took into account braking, tube pressurization faults and power loss contingencies.
According to TechCrunch, while three pods were tested on the day, a total of 30 teams had been invited to take part, but who had all failed to build a pod ready for the test track. The second phase will focus on top speeds, with every team getting access to the test track. Teams that weren't eligible to run their pods this weekend can still attend if they make necessary changes based on the different test results. The challenge is targeted towards colleges and universities to encourage innovation and accelerate the development of this revolutionary transportation method.
Badgerloop leaders said it's an honor to win the innovation award, especially since the team is led by undergraduates.