This time next summer, Elon Musk’s Hyperloop test track will be a real thing — a small version of it, anyway.
SpaceX plans to host a competition in June 2016 for university students and independent engineering teams to build or design a sub-scale pod for the Hyperloop, according to documents obtained by Business Insider.
To support the contest, the company wants to build a one-mile test track adjacent to its headquarters in Hawthorne, California, where qualified entrants could test their pods. The pod is the portion of the Hyperloop that riders actually sit in. However, there won’t be any human riders in this competition.
This is a shift from January of this year, when Musk said that the company would host a competition and that the test track would most likely be in Texas, but gave no other details.
There’s been growing interest in developing a Hyperloop since Musk revealed the concept in a white paper in 2013.
Two companies in California — Hyperloop Technologies and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies — are currently working to make the track a reality. SpaceX has no affiliation with either companies, but still wants to advance the Hyperloop idea and technologies.
“While we are not developing a commercial Hyperloop ourselves, we are interested in helping to accelerate development of a functional Hyperloop prototype,” the SpaceX website states.
Like Musk’s Hyperloop white paper, all information learned from this competition will also be open-sourced, according to the SpaceX documents.
How the competition will work
While SpaceX won’t release more detailed rules and criteria for the competition until August, the company just posted the general plan for the Hyperloop Pod Competition on its website.
The contest will be hosted at two main events.
First, in January all entrants will be required to participate in-person at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, for a “design weekend.” This is where participants will submit their pod designs to be evaluated by a panel of SpaceX engineers, Tesla Motors engineers, and university professors.
This event will also be the first opportunity for companies to choose teams they want to sponsor for the final event, which is the “competition weekend.”
In June qualified entrants will gather in Hawthorne to test their pods on SpaceX’s new test track.
According to the competition overview document, SpaceX will likely also build a Hyperloop pod for demonstration. However, its pod will not be eligible to win.
SpaceX hasn’t said what the winning entrant gets, but has an announcement about the prize planned for August.
Check out the schedule for the event below.