Engineering Students Participate in SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition

Hyperloop Image

By Mike McKissack

Thirteen students from the Engineering program at College of DuPage are heading to Texas A&M University to take part in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition.

The competition, geared toward university students and independent engineering teams, requires entrants to design and build a Hyperloop pod.

The team includes Adeel Alam (Glen Ellyn), Lamis Awdi (Lebanon), Billy and Jake Bonk (Countryside), Maggie Embree (Arlington Heights), Valentina Gaurino (Addison), Donald Krambeck (Homer Glen), Jakub Lewandowski (Wood Dale), Jonathan Oakley (Naperville), Joseph Refugio (Villa Park), Suman Sherwani (Naperville), Joseph Stanek (Aurora), and Elvin Thorat (Woodridge).

The Hyperloop is a conceptual high-speed transportation system put forward by Tesla Motors owner and technology entrepreneur Elon Musk,incorporating reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on an air cushion driven by linear induction motors and air compressors.

According to team member Donald Krambeck, the team arose from a group of COD students who studied together for their engineering classes. He said he has enjoyed the work involved in the competition.

“The idea of providing ideas, concepts and designs to Elon Musk’s team at SpaceX to help further an ingenious idea is inspiring by itself,” Krambeck said. “Getting to work with friends and have a great time while doing it also pushes us further and to know that what you are working on is something that might actually be built and implemented within the next 20 years is extremely inspiring.”

The team was one of only 124 teams chosen from 1,700 entrants to participate in the second phase of the competition.

Currently studying computer engineering with plans to earn an A.E.S. degree at COD, Krambeck said the team entered the first phase of the competition in early September and submitted design ideas for their pod in October. After a few weeks, SpaceX responded and invited the team to attend the Design Weekend at Texas A&M to compete against 124 teams from 20 countries around the world.

During the event, the teams will present their designs to a panel comprising judges from SpaceX, Tesla Motors and Texas A&M. Following the panel’s decision, a number of teams will move on to the final phase of the competition, during which they will build a functional prototype for the final phase of the competition, held at the world's first Hyperloop Test Track built by SpaceX near its headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

Krambeck said he is pleased with his experience as a student at COD, particularly the support of the faculty and administration.

“Having met with instructors Scott Banjavcic and Tom Carter, Associate Dean of Math and Physical Sciences Tom Schrader, and a few other directors, I’ve learned that COD really supports student involvement and student driven projects that will help them succeed in their academic endeavors and their professions,” said Krambeck. “It's really shown me that College of DuPage is a fantastic community college for any aspiring student.”

Krambeck said he’s learned a lot while working on the project and looks forward to problem solving as a team and presenting to engineering field professionals during the competition.

“It's an honor knowing that our ideas and designs could possibly be the one that makes it to the final design of the actual SpaceX Pod design,” he said. “Regardless of the outcome, to go and compete against teams from prestigious colleges and network with professionals in the engineering field is an experience I’ll never forget or take for granted.”

Click here for more information about the College of DuPage Engineering program.