Purdue students work toward revolutionizing transportation

A group of Purdue students wants to revolutionize transportation in the near future. WLFI/File Photo
A group of Purdue students wants to revolutionize transportation in the near future. WLFI/File Photo

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Some Purdue students want to revolutionize transportation in the near future.

In 2013, aerospace manufacturer SpaceX released a concept involving a passenger capsule, which could travel the speed of sound via a vacuum tube.

They challenged colleges and universities around the world to tackle the idea.

A Purdue group is working to turn that concept into reality.

“The goal is to transport people at higher speed,” mechanical engineering professor Guillermo Paniagua said.

The Purdue Hyperloop team is made up of 70 members from several different departments throughout the university.

Along with 120 other schools, the Purdue team presented its design earlier this year at Texas A&M University. Purdue was selected to advance to the final stage of competition.

Once the students came back to West Lafayette, they got straight to work on building a prototype.

“We are extremely, extremely excited about this opportunity,” said Paniagua.

Purdue Hyperloop team member Erik Andreshak said, “I’ve seen the progress that everyone has made and it’s been truly remarkable to see how far everyone has come since the beginning, and how they’re able to essentially build this pod out of simply an idea.”

The pod will have an aerodynamic shape, which reduces drag and cuts down on travel time.

The pod being built at Purdue is estimated to cost around $20,000, which is funded by sponsors.

“It’s a very team building experience. We’ve had over, I think, 130 people across the entire product so I’ve met my fair share of people — ya know, people I like people, I don’t like,” Purdue Hyperloop team member Eric Schweitzer said. “And I’ve worked with them both. [It’s a] great introduction into how your real world may be working with a bunch of different engineers.”

All in all, the team feels optimistic.

“We’re building something that seemed almost impossible years ago, but we are making it possible,” said Andreshak. “And through these efforts, it’s like working in a dream. It’s truly incredible.”

In January, the team will head out to California for the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition, where teams will be able to test their pods.