Elon Musk's SpaceX Hyperloop Competition

A Hydraulics Online Case Study

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HypED is a University of Edinburgh student-led project that is blazing a successful path for British engineers in Elon Musk’s Hyperloop project – and demonstrating an innovative new future for hydraulics in the process.

Back in August 2017, 25 teams from around the world convened at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California to compete on the test track of a truly revolutionary mode of transport: the Hyperloop.

Elon Musk described Hyperloop as “a cross between a Concorde, a railgun, and an air hockey table”. Hyperloop uses tunnels and pods (or capsules) to move at extremely high speeds along a low pressure transit tube.

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And, as it turned out, Hydraulics Online’s design consultancy services proved to have major benefits for the HypED project. Adam says: “We had our idealistic design of how we wanted it to work, and then Hydraulics Online helped us take it from an idea on paper to an actual design that can be manufactured effectively. The input we got from Hydraulics Online was really something we couldn’t get elsewhere. They have been very, very helpful.”

The HypED team collectively praised the knowledge and input of the Hydraulics Online team, in terms of available parts, the connections, all the safety requirements, design, and manufacturing services.

Basically, Hydaulics Online helped us to take it from concept to a working design that achieved the functionality in a safe and certified manner. They prevented a lot of stress. They worked closely with us over multiple iterations and agreed to help us with the manufacture – and this really took the pressure off.

AdamPresident, HypED

Hyperloop Competition – A Fantastic Achievement

The HypED team did amazingly well to make it to California and were the only UK team to do so, and one of only 5 teams from Europe. The HypED team’s pod performed well in pre-run tests at the Space-X facility and was praised for its functionality and robustness. It also attracted positive comments from other competitors for its compact design and the quality of manufacturing.

Adam says:


Getting to California was super-exciting and super-stressful but Hydraulics Online’s ability to take the pressure off us has been of significant benefit. Hydraulics Online have been very, very helpful.

HypED pod

Sadly, Space-X reduced the number of pods that would race on the track from 5 to 3, and HypED missed out on their chance to run their pod on the track. The competition was won by the team from the Technical University of Munich with a pod that reached more than 200 mph.

Meanwhile, HypED’s commercial team was one of the ten winners – and the only student team to win – from among 2600 entrants in the Hyperloop One Global Challenge with their feasibility study of a commercial Hyperloop route between Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham and London.

Given their good showing, the HypED team continued to officially participate in the following iteration of the SpaceX Hyperloop competition, which focused on the maximum speed to be achieved by a self-propelled prototype. HypED were, in their own words at the time, ‘staying hyped’ with their confidence high: “We’re going to California next year to rock it!” said Adam.

Whether you’re helping to preserve the past or, like Adam and team, you’re engineering solutions that will redefine the future… we’re here.