HAWTHORNE (CBSLA.com) — Two dozen teams of students from 35 countries competed in Hawthorne Sunday in hopes of providing a critical component for the potentially revolutionary form of high-speed travel known as Hyperloop.

The brainchild of SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk, the Hyperloop concept envisions people-carrying pods that are propelled through vacuum tubes, ultimately at speeds up to 700 mph. Such a system could potentially cut the commute time between Los Angeles and San Francisco to about 30 minutes.

“We actually designed, prototyped and built these air levitation skis ourselves,” said Arwa Tizani, UC Irvine team captain.

Tizani just graduated with a civil engineering major and is doing her masters at UC Irvine as well in mechanical and aerospace engineering.

“I love this. This project has changed my life,” said Tizani.

The event outside of SpaceX headquarters is to generate engineering plans for the high-speed pods.

“Our air bearing skate technology is definitely scalable,” said Carly Parlato, a mechnical engineering student.

Most of the competitors are engineering majors and building these projects is what excites them.

“Getting dirty, playing with the pod, machining,” said Parlato.

Three teams were in the finals Sunday. The goal was to see who’s pod is the fastest.

“That was like the culmination of so many years of hard work and months of sleepless nights and I couldn’t have asked for a better run,” said Parlato.

Now they’ll wait for years to see if their design becomes part of Musk’s plan for high-speed mass transit.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)




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