EVENT:  UCI’s HyperXite team is going head-to-head with more than 30 other university-based and independent engineering teams from around the world to determine which has designed and built the best human-scale pod for the Hyperloop transportation system proposed by SpaceX and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk. Pods will be evaluated for speed, stability, braking and smoothness of ride on a 1.25-kilometer track constructed specifically for the competition.

WHEN/WHERE: 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29, at SpaceX headquarters, Jack Northrop Avenue (between Crenshaw Boulevard and Prairie Avenue), in Hawthorne

INFORMATION:  Media planning to attend should complete the SpaceX media accreditation request form by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25. On Jan. 29, confirmed media may pick up their credentials between 1 and 1:30 p.m. at the media registration table at the entrance to the competition. SpaceX will provide free parking and Wi-Fi. To interview UCI HyperXite team members before, during or after the event, contact Brian Bell at 949-565-5533 or bpbell@uci.edu.

BACKGROUND:  HyperXite has about 50 student team members from UCI’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences. They have been working for more than a year on a tubular vehicle designed to travel through a near-vacuum tube at high speeds with great efficiency. The pod is made of strong yet lightweight carbon fiber and hosts advanced systems to help it levitate, carry passengers and cargo, and come to a safe stop.

The HyperXite team placed fifth at a design competition in Texas in early 2016, thereby qualifying for this next round of competition. “We are proud of UCI’s top-five finish – the highest of any California school – in the design-and-build round and are excited to see what they bring to the contest this weekend,” said Gregory Washington, dean of The Henry Samueli School of Engineering. “This has been an extraordinary hands-on learning experience for our high-achieving students.”

We went from a design to an entirely constructed pod in such a short amount of time – especially given that this has never been done before – and we’re just a group of undergraduate students,” said HyperXite project manager Mackenzie Puig-Hall, a senior in mechanical engineering. “It’s really incredible to me that we’ve been able to pull this whole thing together.”