Hyperloop contest: Infineon chips accelerate Technical University of Munich’s pod to fourth win in a row


One day, the Hyperloop may reach 1,200 km/h. That is more than three times as fast as the highest measured speed at a Formula 1 race

MUNICH, July 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Traveling at the speed of sound? The inventors of the Hyperloop believe that this will be possible someday. We would then travel in pods through a tube in a partial vacuum at speeds of up to 1,200 kilometers per hour. Engineers around the world are working on the technology.

During the night from Sunday to Monday, students from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) once again won the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition near Los Angeles, a speed competition for pod prototypes. Equipped with more than 420 Infineon chips, the pod reached 463.5 km/h. This speed would shorten the trip from Munich to Hamburg to about one hour and 15 minutes, for example. The team left its competitors lagging well behind. Their pod was more than 200 km/h faster than the one that came in second.

"Four wins in a row in the Hyperloop Competition underscore the enormous technological expertise of the students," says Hans Adlkofer, Vice President Automotive Systems at Infineon. "They also highlight the major role that precise and robust electronics will play in the future of mobility. We are excited for the TUM Hyperloop team and congratulate it on its fascinating success." Infineon sponsored the TUM team and supplied key components. In addition, the students gave the pod electronics the final touch at Infineon's El Segundo location near Los Angeles.

The pod's eight electric motors are controlled by 288 power semiconductors from Infineon. These chips control the flow of current into the motor with thousands of switching processes per second. This creates the rapidly changing magnetic fields that drive the motor. In addition, 24 sensors from Infineon deliver information about the rotor position in the motors. This data is required for precise timing of the switching processes.

As well as in the drive, the TUM Hyperloop also uses 112 power components from Infineon in the main battery switches. With their help, the flow of current from the battery can be switched off in a fraction of a second. This is required, for example, for maintenance work or in case of accidents, to protect people from electric shocks.

The Hyperloop concept comes from SpaceX founder Elon Musk who presented the idea in 2013 as a faster and cheaper alternative to conventional means of transport. It should also considerably reduce energy consumption, since there is very little air resistance in the partial vacuum tubes and the pods move with almost no friction thanks to magnetic levitation technology.

This is the fourth SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition. The TUM Hyperloop team beat a total of 20 other teams from the U.S., Asia, Australia, and Europe. For the final run, three other teams qualified: Delft Hyperloop from Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), EPFLoop from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (Switzerland) and Swissloop from ETH Zurich (Switzerland).

Further information is available at www.infineon.com

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