The track guides the pod during levitation and propulsion. DH08’s track is external, featuring lateral and vertical levitation beams and a ferromagnetic steel propulsion beam. A key innovation is a functional lane switch, including a curved branch and a straight section for braking. Emphasis is on reusing components for sustainability and cost efficiency. The track consists of three segments: straight for cruising and braking, curved for lane-switching, and another straight for lane-switching.


Helios III will be the first pod in the world to achieve a full scalable lane switch! With this amazing innovation by Delft Hyperloop, we are one step closer to implementing a full-scale hyperloop network. Besides being lane-switch compatible, this pod also features its own custom motor drive and a new water-based thermal management system.

Take a look at all of the different sub-systems in the pod and their technical details to understand how this amazing innovation was realized.

The Helios III pod is able to achieve zero current levitation through the use of its Hybrid Electromagnetic Suspension (HEMS) paired with the Electromagnetic Suspension (EMS). These control vertical and lateral levitation. On top of that, the pod is able to propel due to the Linear Flux Switching Permanent Magnet motor (LFSPM). To control the LFSPM motor we use are own custom designed motor drive to harness the full potential of the motor. The heat that is produced by the motor drive is managed by a water loop combined with an evaporative thermal management system.

In case of emergencies the pod uses a pneumatic braking system with gas springs. The localization system ensures that the location of the pod is known along the track. By using a laser system on the pod and a localisation strip on the track we ensure scalability of the system. On top of that, the pod is vacuum compatible due to the vacuum box..

The batteries used are wire bonded and provide the motor with power. Multiple sophisticated PCB's make sure that all systems act together in synchronicity and the analyse data from all the safety sensors on the pod. Our custom software ensures smooth operation.


The mechanical department focuses on connecting subsystems efficiently, prioritizing safety, weight reduction, and compatibility with the pod’s configuration. This involves five subsystems, including the chassis, the track and aeroshell, with emphasis on an emergency braking system and vacuum box. Design criteria include robustness, scalability, modularity, and lightness, ensuring reliability and adaptability.

Interested? Have a look at the technical details!

The chassis serves as a skeleton, supporting loads and offering space for subsystems. It features a modular double ladder frame made from standard aluminum profiles for efficient load distribution and easy disassembly.

The aeroshell protects subsystems from debris and improves aerodynamics. This year, it's made from natural flax fiber composite since it has similar structural properties and much lower footprint than traditional carbon fiber products.

Delft Hyperloop introduced an indirect pneumatic braking system with a gas spring this year for lighter, more compact brakes with adjustable force. Emergency brakes, a key safety feature, ensure rapid stops during emergencies such as communication or power loss.

The vacuum box protects vital components and personnel inside the pod, supporting the chassis's structural function. It ensures a pressurized environment in case of failure in near-vacuum conditions. In a full scale hyperloop, it would be where the cargo and the passengers would travel.


The levitation system exists in order to achieve full contactless control over five out of the six degrees of freedom. As such, it will ensure the pod can levitate, while counteracting disturbances - both in- and external. Moreover, the levitation system extends to the safety wheels; wheels on each side of the pod that fully constrain it, and are employed when levitation fails or is turned off. The pod levitates by using Hybrid Electromagnetic Suspension (HEMS) and Electromagnetic Suspension (EMS). When levitation fails or is switched off, it is of paramount importance that it remains fully constrained by the safety wheels. In total, twenty such wheels are mounted on the pod; four bottom wheels, eight top wheels, four top- and four bottom- lateral wheels.

Interested? Have a look at the technical details!

Vertical motion (Z), pitch θ and roll φ are controlled by the vertical levitation, which is composed of four HEMS modules located on each top corner of the pod. Each HEMS module is accompanied by an offset sensor which measures the distance between the module and the track above it. With these four sensors, the three aforementioned degrees of freedom are measured. Two of the remaining degrees of freedom (lateral motion (Y) and yaw ψ), are controlled by the lateral levitation. This comprises four EMS modules; two on each side of the pod, vertically aligned with its center of mass. Once again, they are each accompanied by an offset sensor that determines the pod’s exact position and orientation.


The propulsion sub-system makes use of a very special and advanced motor, the LFSPM. The Linear Flux Switching Permanent Magnet Motor is a novel motor type which places the permanent magnet perpendicular to the coils. Instead of continuously creating the magnetic field using electricity, requiring large amounts of power, the coil is merely there to 'steer' the electromagnetic field. This makes for a efficient, and high performing motor.

Interested? Have a look at the technical details!

The motor consists of a coil, a magnet and two U-cores. The U-cores are glued to the permanent magnet creating an E-module, in which the coil is placed, thus perpendicular to the magnet.

The cores are made out of laminated steel sheets, to reduce the eddy-current losses. A neodymium magnet is used for its high volumetric strength, which is required in the confined motor module.

The motor provides a zero power lift of 1450 N, at the nominal air gap of 12.5mm. At full power, the motor generates over 2 m/s² of acceleration, with a slightly higher lift force. It does this with an efficiency of over 80% at the design speed of 8 m/s.


The Sense and Control sub-system integrates all subsystems by supplying the top-level control of the pod. This control is done using all sensory inputs that are gathered around the pod. In this manner, the subsystem thus acts as the brain and nerves of the pod. Because of this, cruciality, robustness, efficiency and safety are the focus of the department while developing the subsystem.

Interested? Have a look at the technical details!

All the control hardware in the pod is custom made. Two of the most important control systems are the Main PCB (Printed Circuit Board) and the Braking PCB, for the top-level control and braking control respectively.

Sensors monitoring the internal and external environment of the pod enable the high- and low-level control of the pod. The localization system is a custom-made optical encoder system that can determine the location of the pod along the track with an accuracy up to 1.5mm.

Behind the hardware, a robust software infrastructure realizes the operation of the pod. Using a state-driven control system written in Rust for optimal reliability, the pod can transition between a set of possible operating states. The ground station and its interface enable for easy monitoring of the performance of the system.


The powertrain system has the task of supplying high amounts of power to the propulsion, levitation and sense & control subsystems. This year we opted to build a safe and robust system, capable of powering the pod for extended periods of time, all whilst keeping safety as a main priority. On top of that, this year we have created our own custom motor drive and we have improved the safety of our batteries even more.

Interested? Have a look at the technical details!

The Powertrain system is the only energy source on the pod. A low voltage battery powers all electronics while 2 battery packs provide 400V for the propulsion and levitation systems. The new batteries feature wire bonding and added safety electronics. Battery management systems monitor the battery activity and can deactivate these if desired. An onboard DC/DC converter trickle charges the low voltage battery using the high voltage power. While low voltage converters provide 5V and 12V in addition to the 24V provided by the LV battery.

Furthermore, power distribution boards act as power connection hubs throughout the pod. For the first time, Delft Hyperloop also implements a custom motor drive in Helios III, powering the propulsion system more efficiently, with a smaller and water cooled motor drive. This drive utilizes a fully custom control algorithm. Using a few hard wired control mechanisms, the Powertrain systems require little software control and therefore are controlled by the Sense and Control system.


This is Helios III. This pod will be the first pod in the world to achieve a full scalable lane switch. This pod will also have a custom motor drive as well as a thermal management system that is water based. With these 3 innovations Delft Hyperloop aims to accelerate the implementation of a hyperloop system. Want to find out more about our newest innovations? Check out the video above!



This year, Delft Hyperloop plans to be the first hyperloop team in the world to build a system capable of achieving a scalable lane switch. They also aim to create their own motor drive and a water cooling system for the first time. With these three innovations, Delft Hyperloop is designing a pod that is much better suited for large-scale production, thus marking a significant step towards the implementation of a hyperloop network.

The previous teams of Delft Hyperloop laid the foundation that allows the eighth team to realize a lane switch. They did this by developing a prototype that could fully levitate, with the track directly above the vehicle. A lane switch sounds simple but is very complicated for a hyperloop system. To execute an effective lane switch, many different factors need to be considered, such as the balance of forces acting on the vehicle. It's important to carefully plan how powerful the magnets on the left or right side of the vehicle need to be to steer it correctly, as well as with the centrifugal force, which depends on how fast the vehicle goes through the switch. In other words, a very complicated system for the student team that wants to realize and demonstrate this within a year.

To make a lane switch possible, the pod must be able to go through the switch at sufficient speed. For this, they use their efficient motor designed by last year's team. To make this motor even more efficient and to ensure that it gets exactly the required amount of power at a specific moment, the team has also designed their own motor controls (motor drives) this year. Previously, these were provided by their partners, but with these custom motor controls, the student team can further optimize their prototype.

All these electrical components ensure that the prototype can move and levitate on the track but also produce a lot of heat. To ensure that this generated heat - in a vacuum - stays away from all critical components, the team has devised an evaporating water cooling system that utilizes the lower boiling point of water in a vacuum. The generated heat is stored in the water and is then released in the hyperloop tube, similar to how humans sweat. This solution seems simple, but is crucial for protecting their most complex systems.

With this design, they will participate in the European Hyperloop Week in Zurich, Switzerland in July, where, like previous years, they hope to win the Complete Pod Design Award and both Full-Scale Awards. From mid-April, tests will take place on a 40-meter-long track next to the TU Delft D:Dreamhall. The test track splits halfway through, allowing the Hyperloop pod to either continue straight or take a turn without touching the track.