SpaceX Hyperloop pod reached almost 300 mph in latest competition

Still far from the 600 mile-per-hour goal

Contestants lined their prospective Hyperloop pods on SpaceX's 1.25-kilometer track at the company's Hawthorne, California headquarters — and for the third time, the WARR student team from the Technical University of Munich won the competition. This time, their vehicle topped out at 290 miles per hour, which beat the team's previous record of 200 mph set last August.

This was the third Hyperloop Pod competition to generate working prototypes of SpaceX's high-speed transit system, and WARR has won them all. But they've come a ways since the first outing in January 2017, which the Munich team's pod took with a pod reaching just 58 mph. The other two finalists were Delft University from the Netherlands ( reaching 88 mph) and EPFLoop from Switzerland ( reaching 53 mph), who advanced from a pool of 20 student teams from over 40 countries.

The competition's requirements have increased, too, as the previous two allowed teams to give their pod a boost from a SpaceX-made 'pusher' vehicle — but this time around, all craft had to be completely self-propelled. There was also a secondary levitation competition, for which craft must keep their alignment while hovering over the track for some length of time. Each craft also had to pass tests and inspections for safety, including in vacuum chambers.

Reporting by David Lumb for Engadget.

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