The Hyperloop is not real. But that won’t prevent it from being taught in schools. Now Purdue University, Indiana, is offering a Hyperloop Design course in three of its engineering schools. The first class was yesterday and apparently 54 students showed up.
The course is being offered at an interesting time in Hyperloop’s development. Earlier this summer, Elon Musk announced he would build a test track and host a design competition for the Hyperloop’s pods. Then, last week, the startup that’s kind of run with Musk’s original idea, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, announced it’s building its own test track, with a long list of partners including transportation engineers at AECOM.
This also isn’t the first time the Hyperloop has been the topic of academic discourse. Students at UCLA tackled the Hyperloop last semester as part of an architecture studio, generating some of the first (fanciful) images of what the tubular transit system might look like. But it sounds like Purdue’s course is centring in on Musk’s pod-focused design competition:
Looking closely at the rules, it seems like Musk’s competition was tailored to coincide with school calendars: The deadline to register is 9/15 and the final submission is 12/15. I’m actually surprised now that we aren’t seeing more of these Hyperloop classes, although some professors may simply be giving it as an assignment as part of their existing courses. I also found some evidence that schools like the University of Illinois are putting together teams to compete, if not offering classes outright.