Faculty Advisor and Mentor: Shaaban Abdallah, Professor
Project Manager & Director: Dhaval Shiyani, Graduate Student Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Cincinnati
The Hyperloop UC Team is a group of over 60 students from the University of Cincinnati (UC) who came together to work on building the Hyperloop with the focus on a complete transportation solution including engineering, business, design, marketing and customer experience. This meant the team had to be a diverse group of students from various colleges at UC with different skill sets, motivations, geographic locations, stages in their degrees and time priorities. The team comprised of students from seven countries along with a diverse group of national (American) students, and was supported by 16 sponsors (USD 200,000).
Hyperloop is a proposed ‘5th mode of transportation’ that would propel a capsule-like vehicle in low pressure environment tubes to move freight and passengers. Hyperloop UC built a pod prototype at half scale to participate in the SpaceX Hyperloop pod competition in January 2017. The Hyperloop cuts down travel time by half and expense by 67% compared to that of an airplane, respectively.
Over 1200 applicants who entered the first round submitted to SpaceX, and were then filtered through the preliminary design detailing in October 2015 to 326 teams, after which 124 teams would be invited to Texas A&M University to present their designs to a panel of judges. From here, 27 teams, including Hyperloop UC, were selected as the final participants to build a pod prototype for competition week in Hawthorne, California. Hyperloop UC was the first team to demonstrate magnetic levitation for a Hyperloop pod during their October 2016 unveil, gaining global attention. The team finished in 12th place and is now focused on building prototypes for a future version of the SpaceX Hyperloop pod competition, tentatively to be held yearly. The team is also focused on exporting the Hyperloop UC model to create an Advanced Transportation Research Center at UC, to develop cutting-edge transportation technologies.
Project duration: July 2015 – January 2017
A unique communication model with innovative roles employed to ensure smooth flow of information within the large and very diverse Hyperloop team. The team was composed mainly of 60 volunteer students who worked in a high-complexity project related to a first-of-its-kind technology.
One of the new roles is floaters. A floater would make a major contribution to his/her subsystem and in parallel stay associated with other subsystems. One floater was assigned to every subsystem. In addition, a system integration manager was assigned to act as an integrator and keep in constant touch with the team leads from all subsystems. The team also employed state-of-the-art practices such as agile practices and tools, and successfully managed to deliver the project despite the complexity, and technological, cultural and diversity challenges.