This summer, I was able to take part in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition in Los Angeles, California in the USA thanks to the Principal’s Go Abroad Fund. I attended the competition as a committee member of HYPED, the University of Edinburgh Hyperloop Society. I was in charge of making sure all power electronic components and systems were assembled, tested and functioning properly, as well as convincing the competition judges of this. The competition lasted a week, but it was important to arrive a week prior to unpack and prepare all the parts that were shipped from the UK.
I was mainly worried about:
- The parts arriving safely and on time
- Organising all 30+ members of HYPED attending the competition to work efficiently as a team while in a foreign country
- Taking care of food while working in various workshops
Ultimately, none of my worries turned into major problems, but there were some delays in the shipment of parts which had set the team back a few days. The majority of the trip was spent assembling and testing parts for and during the competition, where the team placed 6th worldwide and got to speak to Elon Musk about the design of the prototype, the team and the expansion of his companies into Europe. I was one of the lucky few personally speaking to Elon, specifically about our propulsion systems and regenerative braking. Once the competition had ended, I spent three more days in LA, one of which was dedicated to packing all the parts back into their boxes for shipment back to the UK, the second was spent on a tour of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the final one was spent on the beach and driving around LA.
During this trip, I gained a lot of experience in moving around as a large group while abroad, deciding who should go where at which time to get the most out of everyone’s time – something I have not done before, especially in a leadership position. Overall, the trip was a great learning experience, both personally and from a technical point of view. I would like to thank the Principal’s Go Abroad Fund for making this possible.