Michigan Hyperloop (MHype) was one of only twenty collegiate Hyperloop teams, internationally to be invited to Hawthorne, CA for the 2018 SpaceX Hyperloop Competition. In the week prior to race day, July 22nd, twenty-five Michigan Wolverines collaborated to pass a series of rigorous tests that would prove to eventually disqualify their pod from the competition. Although Michigan Hyperloop was not one of the three finalists allowed to race on competition day, they gained many valuable lessons that will prove vital to their success in coming years.
Stephanie Shantz (BSE ME ‘19), the Brakes Subteam Lead for Michigan Hyperloop relates that although the team faced extreme difficulty during test week, from which only 15% of teams passed on to test day, her team members demonstrated creativity, resourcefulness, determination, and resiliency that will prove invaluable in coming years. During the competition, one of the pitfalls SpaceX advisors informed MHype team members of was the potential overextension of a spring in the pod’s lateral control system. Freshman Aidan Fernandez took this challenge in stride, leading the team in redesigning the system in an extremely tight timeframe using only parts that they had been able to purchase from McMaster-Carr. Shantz explains that despite the pod’s eventual disqualification, it was efforts like these that will bring MHype success in future years:
“The mentality of Hyperloop has always been to achieve the impossible, and competition weekend definitely handed us the impossible, and I think we proved to ourselves that impossible challenges can be overcome if they’re met with determination. Although the team did not reach its goal of being one of the three teams to race on competition day, the team grew leaps and bounds from our experience and we are optimistic about our ability to be a competitive team in the coming design cycle.”