TUM students have already shown that they can build the fastest passenger "pod" for the Hyperloop four times since Elon Musk announced the "Hyperloop Pod Competition" in 2015. Student groups from around the world have been called on to bring the prototypes of their pods to Los Angeles to compete against one another. And the TUM Hyperloop team has left the others in the dust at every competition held so far.
But the students are interested in more than just speed: The team is also investigating the question of how the Hyperloop can become a safe, affordable and sustainable means of transport for the future. Thus among other things they've developed a levitation system for the pod as well as a testing tube segment made of ultra-high-strength concrete which they presented to the Minister President for the first time.
Bavarian State government provides financial support to the Hyperloop team
Bavarian Minister President Dr. Markus Söder commented: "Science fiction is becoming reality! I have enormous respect for the TU Munich Hyperloop team. Their continued success in the worldwide competition to reach the highest speed is impressive. The dreams of California are turning into reality in Bavaria." During his visit Söder announced further support for the Hyperloop team by the Bavarian State government: A sum of 80,000 euros is available for research projects on pod and tube design. Söder: "Bavaria is giving science an additional boost. Research and innovation are the key to competitive strength and prosperity in the future."
TUM is also supporting the project: "We're giving the students the chance to put their expertise into practice in this project," says TUM President Wolfgang A. Herrmann. "We are thus promoting new ways of thinking and are applying youthful fascination to the most difficult challenges – and at the same time we are strengthening the worldwide brand 'German Engineering'."
The Hyperloop project is part of the concept of the new TUM Department of Aerospace and Geodesy (LRG). The department is at the center of the Bavarian aviation and astronautics strategy presented by the Minister President in his government policy statement on April 18, 2018.
Herrmann: "Only those who understand the world as a whole can change the world as a whole. Our new department consolidates expertise in aviation, space flight and geodesy and can thus strengthen synergies. These mutually convergent technologies will bring a fundamental change to mobility both on and above our planet."
New department on 2000 square meters
The LRG will open this winter semester with 19 professorships and 700 students in Bachelor's and Master's programs. Large halls and offices await the newly appointed professors on 2000 square meters at the department's headquarters in Taufkirchen/Ottobrunn near Munich. The TUM Hyperloop team will also have its new field of operation here, where it can concentrate on the production of large concrete pipes and the design of an innovative new levitation system.
The new professorship for "Future Air and Ground Mobility" will working together with the students to investigate the scientific and technological side of the Hyperloop, as well as researching system and operational aspects. The professorship will also do research on innovative mobility concepts and will drive networking activities in the Munich metropolitan region.
"In our new department we intend to realize what many dismiss as mere fantasy," says Herrmann. "Here we plan to build a 400-meter test track to be able to accelerate the prototypes at high speeds. We will isolate these activities on the premises in Taufkirchen and Ottobrunn, but also at the special airport in Oberpfaffenhofen. The Hyperloop is a vision for rapid transportation in everyday life. We want to give that vision a chance."