University officials and team members unveil Windsor’s entry in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition.University officials and team members unveil Windsor’s entry in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition.

Students unveil maglev challenge pod

A team of University of Windsor and St. Clair College students is heading to California to compete in Elon Musk’s SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition.

The uWinLoop and SCCLoop duo is one of 21 teams worldwide to advance to the finals and compete July 21 in Hawthorne, California, at SpaceX headquarters.

Dozens of supporters gathered in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation Friday, July 5, to send off the team and watch the engineering, business, and marketing students reveal the pod they’ve been working on for more than a year.

“We’re looking forward to putting Windsor against the best on the world stage,” says third-year mechanical engineering student Stefan Sing, uWinLoop’s president and founder.

Hyperloop technology uses electric propulsion in a low-pressure tube to propel a pod above the track using magnetic levitation. This first-of-its-kind competition challenges students to build a functional, scaled-down, prototype that can propel at maximum speed and stop within 100 feet of the end of SpaceX’s vacuum test track.

“We are not as big as some of the other competing engineering schools, but I think grit, passion, and heart makes up for a lot of things and this team has all of that. I am very proud of them,” says Mehrdad Saif, dean of engineering.

The Windsor team raised more than $150,000 in donations, sponsorships, and in-kind contributions to fund the construction of its pod. Advantage Engineering Inc.’s $65,000 in-kind sponsorship made it one of the team’s largest supporters. Davis Gravelsins, the company’s director of marketing, says the Windsor-based firm manufactured the composite of the pod.

“Regardless of the outcome, our uWinloop team will make us Windsor proud, putting our college, university, city, and our country at the forefront of magnetic propulsion, which is … the way of the future,” Gravelsins says.

University of Windsor faculty advisors include professors Rashid Rashidzadeh, Narayan Kar, and Aleksandr Cherniaev.

—Kristie Pearce

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