The responsibilities of the Hardware Workgroup encompass the physical design of the capsule, the compressor and propulsion systems, the hardware controls, and the design of an electrical power system to make all other systems function.
Aerodynamics and Capsule Design
The capsule design subgroup is mainly concerned with the aerodynamics (and to some extent aesthetics) of the hyperloop pod. This is one of the most important areas of the design as the pod will need to be designed in such a way to control the formation of shockwaves as the pod nears its maximum speed. This subgroup will also involve overlap with the compressor subgroup, and concerns itself with the utilization of a front-mounted compressor to pressurize and utilize the incident air for use in both the skis and to a lesser extent in propulsion.
The propulsion subgroup deals with the interactions between the capsule and the stationary magnetic linear accelerators located at certain points along the tube. These stators are primarily responsible for the acceleration of the pod.
The power subgroup will be designing a DC power system for the pod. The pod will be carrying an onboard supply of batteries that (according to the white paper) are switched out and recharged after each journey. The team will have to consider the power consumption needs of ALL power-drawing components to ensure that the pod can last the whole journey but also that in the event of an emergency that there is enough reserve power to get the pod to the station safely.
The compressor subgroup is mostly focused on the front-mounted air compressor that supplies the compressed air for the suspension, propulsion, and passenger interior. They will also explore the power consumption of running the compressor for the length of the journey so that the electrical power system can be designed to handle it. The compressor is predicted to be the most energy consuming part of the pod.
Skis and Suspension
As the pod will not (barring an emergency) be using wheels, it must be suspended on "air skis." The skis and suspension subgroup is entrusted with the design of a system to utilize the onboard compressed air to pump high pressure air under these skis at an acceptable flow rate such that the pod will have sufficient lift.
In order to implement essentially all safety and "quality of life" systems, embedded control systems must be used. The controls subgroup concerns itself only with the implementation of the control systems onto the physical pod, and not the high level design of these systems. This is primarily an EE-only zone, and as such we will need experienced people to help.
The communications subgroup handles all the communication systems on board the pod including any systems to communicate with passengers in the event of an emergency, as well as all systems by which sensor data is communicated to operators and/or control hardware.