Waterloo’s Waterloop Finalists in SpaceX Competition
Does anything channel The Jetsons more than high-speed travel through a tube surrounded by a cushion of air? Well, it turns out that the future imagined by these prophetic animators is here.
Waterloop, a student team from the University of Waterloo, built one of the world's first functional pneumatic Hyperloop levitation system – a floating train that flies through a tube at speeds approaching 1000 km an hour – just like the Jetsons. Their train, a six-foot-long metal frame bearing hoses, controllers, an air bottle and sundry other technological wizardry, levitated – yes, levitated – from terra firma and glided on a cushion of air along a short test track set up at University of Waterloo’s Federation Hall.
This weekend, the Waterloo team will put their prototype to the test. They are one of 22 teams selected to showcase their craft at the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition this weekend in California! As part of PayPal’s mission to help Canadian students and entrepreneurs achieve their dreams, PayPal Canada is a proud supporter of Waterloop’s efforts to build a winning prototype.
Waterloop, the only Canadian team to make it through to the final round of the SpaceX competition, is led by Yazan Obeidi, who is studying systems design engineering at the University of Waterloo.  Waterloop started as a team of less than 20 students but has since grown into a 150-person organization with students ranging from first year to those studying for their Masters degree, across a multitude of disciplines.
“Our ultimate goal is to make a fully-sustainable mode of transportation that will forever change the way people travel,” says Justin Trudell, Sponsorship and Finance Lead at Waterloop. “We want Hyperloop to change how people think about travel, and really give them limitless, affordable possibilities to see the world, unbounded by the restrictions of current transportation.”
Waterloop is also setting themselves apart through a focus on a sustainable model that will minimize impact on the environment. Currently, trains need a buffer zone that creates a heavy footprint on the areas where tracks are set. But a Hyperloop train with Waterloop’s design would be physically contained and would minimize impact on the environment and the grid.
“The sustainability factor of Hyperloop is extremely important to us. The end goal would be to have a system that is fully powered by solar panels lining the tube, resulting in net-zero energy use for the passengers,” says Trudell. “This could have a profound impact on the influence the transportation industry currently has on global carbon emissions.”
The SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition was started by Elon Musk with the intention of encouraging student and independent teams to expand on the idea of a Hyperloop train, an idea originally proposed by Musk in 2013. He publicized the theory behind the Hyperloop train to spur global competition about increasing the speed of transit, and students the world over answered the call. At the final competition this weekend in Hawthorne, California, teams will be testing out human-scale pods on a 1.6-km track at the SpaceX headquarters in California.

Alexander Peh , Head of Mobile & Market Development, PayPal Canada 

Stay up to date

Sign up to receive the latest news to your email.