BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Imagine skipping the headache of a traffic-jammed interstate and, instead, zooming down to New Orleans in a sleek pod riding on a magnetic track that can get you there in about 10 minutes.
That's the dream design of a team of LSU engineering students and the technology is close.
"This is very similar to a car," said Connor Joslin, a senior at LSU. "Just with hover engines instead of tires."
LSU's Hyperloop Team is made up of 16 mechanical and electrical engineering students. For the past year and a half, members of the team have been working to develop a pod that would travel within a Hyperloop, an enclosed vacuum tube. The pod hovers thanks to high-tech magnet technology.
Joslin said the magnet technology isn't new. Japan and Germany have used "maglev" in trains. The difference with the hyperloop is the pod runs in an enclosed vacuum.
"Not only do you eliminate mechanical friction from wheels, but you eliminate air friction," Joslin added.
That means the pod can go really fast. The team estimates it can travel 500 miles per hour.
The LSU Hyperloop Team will head to California on Thursday for the chance to test its pod on a real hyperloop test track built by Space X. The aerospace company invited 30 teams from around the world to test their pods and compete for a top cash prize.
Global E aerospace engineer Carl Guichard is the team's mentor. He is using his experience to help the students tweak and adjust their design. He likes their odds of winning.
"The inspiration that they've been pouring into this shows the talent is here in this state," Guichard explained.
Almost as impressive as the design itself is how these students paid for this project. They were able to get sponsors in the Baton Rouge area, raising almost $70,000 to bring their design to life.
"We are just a group of students who are trying to develop a new transportation system," Joslin said.
Once in California, the team will have a week to make final adjustments before the testing and competition begins. Good luck Tigers!