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Young Romanian among the winners of Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition

Romanian engineering student Denis Tudor, 23, is among the winners of Hyperloop competition, which aims to find a transportation alternative for the future. Billionaire Elon Musk, CEO and founder of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla Motors, initiated the competition.

Denis Tudor is part of an international team called rLoop, which also includes NASA engineers. They’ve all worked on an atypical system that can carry passengers through a depressurized system at a speed of over 1,200 km per hour. Musk recognized their vision, the team being awarded the first prize for innovation in the competition’s final.

The prototype built by rLoop required an investment of EUR 70,000, with all the money being raised through crowdfunding.

“Hyperloop is basically a capsule that will be propelled at speeds of over 1,200 km per hour, in a tube with low atmospheric conditions. It could be categorized as a means of transportation between train and plane, ideal on distances of up to 1,000 where the flight by plane is not an advantage because of the time spent in the airport, and the train journey would take too long,” Denis Tudor said.

“Moreover, this solution also has the advantage of low power consumption amid very low atmospheric pressure conditions. Thus, a trip Hyperloop will be cheaper than a plane ticket,” he added.

In the summer of 2016, with some financial help from Romanian investor Antonio Eram, CEO and founder Netopia, Denis Tudor joined the rLoop team in the US, and started working on the Hyperloop prototype. Together with his colleagues, he was in charge of the sensors, the capsule’s control inside the tube, and part of the electronic features.

Once implemented, the project will bring cities closer. For example, a trip between Los Angeles and San Francisco, where the distance is over 550 km, will take less than 30 minutes at a cost estimated at some USD 50.

The final form of the Hyperloop train is expected to be done around 2020. Next, a team of specialists will build it in several places on the planet.