21-year-old Artyom Gazizov hails from Ufa. He is undergraduate at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in Electrical Engineering. On July 21, the TUM Hyperloop team from the rocket science and astronautics working group (WARR) won the next SpaceX competition.
The car, developed by team members from the university (including Gazizov), increased the previous speed record by 4 miles per hour to 288 miles per hour. However, this is still far from the theoretical limit of the future transport at 760 mph, and a victory for the participants gives only a memorable certificate from Elon Musk.
Gazizov told TJ about how he began to get involved in physics, why he took part in the competition and what he thought about the future of technology.
About studying in Germany
After studying at school, I entered the first year at the Technical University of Munich. I knew that I would do electrical engineering, because before that I was doing this as a hobby, and I liked physics in general.
Back in school, I started programming in C. I tried to make websites, taught SEO and SMM, bought articles on other sites for TIC and PR. Once I launched a site-forum on automotive topics up to a thousand visitors a day, then for some reason the attendance went down sharply, and I quickly sold it for 60 thousand rubles. I bought an HP computer for that money. I was then 14-15 years old.
I had a linguistic school – from there I know English. Although my second language was French, I don’t even speak A1 at it. When I realized that I would move to Germany, I began to learn German. Now I have it as C1, English – B2.2.
I chose the Technical University of Munich only because I already had a friend there who studied mathematics. Well, according to ratings, this university is included in at least the top 5 European technical universities. TUM has it all: even its own nuclear reactor and brewery. The faculties of absolutely all technical branches are represented here: electrical engineering, chemistry, architecture and physics. There is a sports complex.
Admission to my faculty was very easy. I submitted documents through the site and was already accepted a day later. They take absolutely everyone who has applied, but you must know the German minimum at B2 / C1. Some come and already know that they will fly out in six months – for them, admission is only necessary for using student benefits for six months: for students, very cheap tickets for the metro, there are discounts in cinema and theaters.
Although they take everyone, the student is obliged to pass the so-called GOP at the end of the first and second courses – these are the ten fundamental subjects of electrical engineering: higher education, algorithms and data structures, physics, electricity and magnetism, circuitry, digital technology and others. If you fail at least one, you immediately fly out. Thus, if at the beginning of the course there were about 500-600 students, then at the end of the second semester only 200 remained.
At first there were problems in understanding the German language as a whole (teaching is conducted in it), but after the second year it makes no difference whether they speak German or Russian to you. It’s very cool that lectures do not have such a thing as a “Must-Visit”. If you need to go somewhere during a lecture, then many students simply get up and leave the classroom – they look at it normally. You can not appear at lectures at all and come only for exams. The exams are all written.
I try to live on what I earn as a tutor (a tutor-tutor who is still studying at the university – approx. TJ) . But, of course, parents help too. In general, a student in Munich is enough for a month 600-700 euros. Dormitories from the university cost about 200-300 euros per month, but they need to wait in line for at least a year. For example, I have been waiting for mine for about two years.
I decided to become a splint, as I’m interested in teaching and working with people in general. When I started my studies and went to lectures with tutorials, I noticed that tutorials bring me much more in terms of understanding. Most likely, for professors who have 20-30 years of experience in the profession, it is difficult to understand where students may have problems, since the material for them is “too clear”. And the tutor, that is, the student, is much easier to feel the difficulties in understanding, since he himself was recently in exactly the same situation as those who came to his lesson. At our university, graduate students usually assist professors in the lecture itself, and tutors, that is, senior students who have very good grades in this course and have been interviewed by the professor, conduct practical classes.
I passed all the exams for undergraduate studies and I just had to write a bachelor’s work. In any case, I will graduate from the magistracy, if only because the master student is more likely to take practice in large firms. Usually, former trainees find it easier to get into the company after graduation, training where they have already passed the practice. Well, in general, it is interesting to study at the magistracy, since in the bachelor’s program they give mainly a dry base, and at the magistracy it all takes on a practical form. Perhaps I will do PhD, but it will all depend on whether I find a topic that interests me, since it usually takes 3-4 years of full-time employment.
In addition to tutoring, I also worked in Munich at the Center for Translational Cancer Research on a project to create an active implant with a sensor that could track the status of a hip fracture treatment. It is most dangerous for the elderly and can be fatal. My task was to experiment with a real implant for proof of concept (proof of project performance – approx. TJ) , plus the development and testing of a prototype electronic circuit – how it will look in the finished product.
How I decided to take part in competitions from SpaceX
I well remember the moment in the winter semester, when in order to go to SpaceX competitions I had to take seven subjects at the university for delivery, since the competitions fall at the beginning of the exams in the summer semester – there will be no opportunity to prepare. At the same time, I worked simultaneously as a tutor on Digital Technology and Arduino workshops, worked as a part-time intern at the company and participated in the Hyperloop project.
I got up at 5 in the morning, prepared materials for passing the university courses, walked in pairs until 12, taught before 14, went to work until 18-19, then went to the Hyperloop workshop until 21-22, or when there were no work on some days according to a hyper-magnifier, he prepared material for tutorials and taught subjects until evening in the library. In short, the winter semester was not easy. In the summer semester, I also taught in parallel with the work on Hyperloop, but I did not take anything from school.
Basically, I was driven by the idea that these competitions and the very participation in the SpaceX project are a huge opportunity to gain experience and, oddly enough, a kind of “legacy” for me.
For a guy from Ufa to personally submit to Elon Musk his project, which you spent almost all your free time during the year – this is just the ultimate dream, surrealism.
WARR is a scientific working group of rocket science and astronautics, a student organization within the Technical University of Munich. To get into it, I applied on the site when they recruited for new competitions in October 2018. I was invited to an interview, given a practical task, where it was necessary to decide how to draw up a diagram for adjusting the temperature, and after 3-4 days they said that I was accepted.
The enthusiasm for the competition is primarily among the participating students themselves. They receive money from sponsors like Airbus, Rohde & Schwarz and Siemens, who spend on cool equipment and components. Thanks to this, they can work on non-standard tasks like real engineers using 3D printers, laser cutters and cutters for electronic circuits. You need to be trained on at least three machines in a specialized enterprise, then to use them for the needs of the team.
For the competition from SpaceX, you need to apply and then send your own hearth design (capsule car that moves with passengers inside the Hyperloop tunnel – approx. ), including all electronic circuits, sizes, number of bolts, type of connections and materials. Within a year, teams are eliminated whose under the opinion of SpaceX engineers is not high quality and safe.
What had to be done as part of the Hyperloop contest
I was responsible for the selection of electronic components – sensors, microcontrollers, DC / DC converters and all that. Even for writing a code for communication between sensors and the main microprocessor (I2C / SPI), for developing an electronic printed circuit board in EAGLE, that is, creating a plan for connecting electronic elements to each other, and subsequent tests of the circuit with an oscilloscope, logic analyzer and other measuring devices.
Here, for example, is the machine that I worked with – an electronic circuit milling machine. It allows you to make an electronic circuit in less than 20 minutes, although you usually have to wait at least a week for your payment to come from China. Due to this, our team goes faster than others.
There is no rigid distribution of tasks. Usually we all help each other if we have free time. Many people take an academy to work in our team, because otherwise there simply is no time to study and work in the project.
We work on weekends. A month before the competition, few people sleep at all. For example, two days before the presentation of our hearth at the university, we arrived at the workshop at 8 am and worked until 5 am the next day, slept 2-3 hours, went to lectures and then worked again until evening.
As part of the competition, you need to be faster than competitors. Usually our main competitors are European teams like Delft Hyperloop and EPFL loop. Such eminent ones as MIT do not reach the final: most likely, Europeans are more “hungry” in this regard than Americans. I spoke with one of the members of the MIT team: he said that for them the Hyperloop Pod is a university course for which they are given points at the university. And we do this on our own initiative, without points and payment, while investing an order of magnitude more time in the project.
Up to 760 miles per hour is still, however far, but not as far as it seems. The whole project is more of a proof of concept for Hyperloop. Now a lot of startups are formed from former student Hyperloop teams. If the team has engineering experience, which is obtained during such projects, then 760 mph is not the limit.
In no case did the car explode. Our car is the only one that went so far along the rail, and in one of the sections there was too much distance between the rails at the junction. This served as a trigger for the brakes, and due to strong vibration, the shell flew off. The connection with the hearth after the stop was established; he was in full working order. But we are still waiting for confirmation of the reason from SpaceX.
SpaceX thus popularizes the idea of Hyperloop. Many of us would like to work there, but, unfortunately, they only take Americans, since this is an obligation under the law. Some are hired by The Boring Company, a company that develops tunnels and drilling machines. The company’s goal is to speed up and reduce the cost of the drilling and tunneling process. We were told that it was planned to use something like a minibus with a Tesla autopilot to travel through tunnels, since in this case the probability of an autopilot error due to isolation of space from external factors is eliminated.
About Musk and the future of transport technology
I used to have an association with Musk, like with Tony Stark: he is also an innovator with a ton of money and behaves very extraordinary. But during the conversation, he seemed to me very simple, a little even such a nerd in the good sense of the word.
It seems to me that Hyperloop is a new mode of transport that will soon be used everywhere. Hyperlooop has the same speed as an airplane, and you don’t need to arrive two hours before departure. Rather, as in the case of the bus, it will be enough to arrive 10 minutes before departure.
Our group, as winners, was invited to a tour of Virgin Hyperloop One: it is currently the most famous company that is testing a full-blown hyperloop in Nevada. It is funded by Virgin Group owner Richard Branson and the UAE. At the moment, they already have a fully functional test segment in the Nevada desert. They said that it was planned to make two separate tunnels (for moving in one direction and vice versa) for each segment and launch a hyper loop through it with an interval of 7 minutes in one direction. About 28 passengers fit in one capsule. This is a huge passenger flow!
Hyperlup is a kind of metro that will connect, for example, Berlin with Amsterdam, Warsaw and Vienna: the road from one city to another will take as much time as from home to work. You can live in Warsaw and drive to Berlin every day for work in 30 minutes.
Working sites of Hyperloop are already in America, now they are building in parallel in India. In the Emirates, they plan to complete the first phase of the construction of a branch for Hyperloop by 2020.
In the future, I would like to engage in hyperloop and build the first full-scale hyperloop with my team in Germany. We already have groundwork and our own, which levitates and moves with the help of a linear motor. We also showed it to Elon, and he was very pleasantly surprised. And I would also like to thank my father, mother, brother, and grandparents on both sides for their support during the work on the project.