The great 2016 Hyperloop race is on (but only if this loopy contraption works)


Do you build futuristic, low-friction transit pods that can operate in a transit system that hasn’t been built yet? How about one that may not ever exist?

SpaceX, the aerospace manufacturer, is building a one-mile Hyperloop track adjacent to its headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., so that on an as-yet-undetermined weekend next June, it can hold a race with experimental Hyperloop pods — sealed capsules that hold 28 people or 3 cars, and are propelled by magnets through Hyperloop tubes on a cushion of air, like a much, much faster version of a pneumatic tube system. The competition is open, though the entry form states a preference for “university students and independent engineering teams.” There appears to be no prize whatsoever, other than pure glory.

As a San Francisco resident, and a transit nerd, I have mixed feelings about this Hyperloop. SpaceX founder and solar panel/electric car magnate Elon Musk drew…

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