The pod requirements, as published in the final SpaceX rules and requirements on Aug 20, 2015, are as follows. As you can see, the requirements are pretty broad. According to SpaceX, this is intentional in order to attract innovation and diversity in design. 1. Mass Less than 11,000 lbm (5,000 kg) 2. Dimensions Pods shall be less than 14 feet in length. Pods can be any shape with the main requirement being that they fit within the tube. The tube’s exact cross-section will be released in September. To provide initial estimates, Pods shall be less than 3.5 feet in width at the base, less than 4.5 feet in maximum width, and less than 3.75 feet in height. When the final tube specifications are released in September, it is possible that these maximum values will change, but they won’t decrease. 3. Service Propulsion System The Pod shall be moveable at low speeds when not in operation, which may be accomplished by physically pushing it (wheels), physically lifting it (even with a dolly), or remotely controlling it. While pushing and lifting are reasonable for Pod loading, it is highly recommended that the remote control be implemented for unloading. Without a remote system, it will be more difficult to guarantee that the Pod reaches the Egress Holding Area in the event it becomes immovable in the Hyperloop tube. 4. Levitation System(s) The mechanism(s) for levitation is up to the entrant and is not actually required. Wheeled vehicles (e.g. an “electric car in a vacuum”) can compete, but are unlikely to win prizes. 5. Operational Propulsion System This is not required (or suggested), as the SpaceX test track will be providing initial linear impulse. However, teams are not prohibited from having a different primary system (e.g. an electric car) or an auxiliary system (to maintain speed during coast). 6. Operational Propulsion Interface In order to accelerate the Pods, SpaceX will provide a mechanical interface, which will then be accelerated to operational speed. If the Pod chooses to utilize the interface, the Pod will remain attached to the Operational Propulsion Interface during the entire acceleration phase. 7. Braking system Each Pod must be able to reduce to zero speed in a controlled fashion (i.e. brake). Braking can be done in any reasonable manner, including, but not limited to, brake tabs, wheels, system drag, or onboard propulsion. SpaceX may choose to provide a permanent magnet surface near the end of the main tube to allow for non-contact electromagnetic braking. Braking system actuation must be demonstrated, if feasible, in one of the pre-launch Functional Tests (see Section 7). The braking system, where feasible, shall be at least 1-fault tolerant. 8. Communications Within the tube, SpaceX will provide a secure 2.4 GHz WiFi network for all command, data and video communications. Ability to send and receive data and commands (through a GUI created by the entrants) must be demonstrated during Functional Tests. 9. Telemetry At a minimum, the telemetry stream must include the following data (at a minimum speed of 1 hz): a. Position within tube (X, Y, and Z) b. Velocity within tube (X, Y, and Z) c. Acceleration within tube (X, Y, and Z) d. Vehicle attitude (roll, pitch, and yaw) e. Pod pressure (only applicable if Pod has any pressurized sections) f. Temperature from at least two points on the Pod g. Power consumption 10. Vibration Environments SpaceX will provide a self-contained flight data recorder to monitor dynamic environments. After the flight, SpaceX engineers will use this data as part of the judging criteria. Pods must accommodate the unit, which will weigh less than one pound. The interface will be released in late 2015. 11. Pod-Stop Command Through a remote command, Pods must be able to be commanded to stop safely. The physical mechanism for stopping can, but does not have to be, the same as the Pod’s standard braking mechanism.