Having co-founded VicHyper while at RMIT, Zac McClelland graduated straight into his role as Managing Director and continues to lead the team towards achieving Australia’s first Hyperloop.
If travelling at the speed of sound between Melbourne and Sydney – a 50-minute trip – seems impossible, think again. Zac and the team at VicHyper have developed a virtual-reality prototype of the technology that could make it possible, and continue to build on their efforts to transform Australia’s transport system.
We spoke with Zac about VicHyper and got some tips for students wanting to follow in his entrepreneurial footsteps.
How did VicHyper begin?
The company started as a university team competing in Elon Musk’s SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition – a competition to design and build a pod to allow people and cargo to travel in vacuum tubes at high speed. In the competition, out of 1700 entrants, VicHyper was the only team from the southern hemisphere that made the final 30.
Since the competition, we turned VicHyper into a company with the goal of transforming transport in Australia. With this in mind, we have been asked around the country to present our vision, and everything we have seen shows us the consensus is people want it, and need it – Australia’s public transport and the world’s public transport is nowhere near as good as it could be.
What are some of the obstacles you've had to overcome in making it all happen?
The VicHyper team have been exceptionally lucky. What we’ve been doing is so big that most people just want to help, as they can see we’re trying our hardest to get something up and running that would change Australian lives for the better.
And what’s your vision for the future? What’s the vision that drives you towards your goals at VicHyper?
In future, I hope we as humans will learn to go about our lives without being harmful to the planet. It’s where we live, and we have nowhere else to go. To get to this though, both people and technology need to change for the better. I see a more unified approach to the future of humanity happening. This starts with us, projects like VicHyper that we’ve been working on, and other projects that are happening around the world which work towards achieving a more unified humanity.
How did your experience at RMIT prepare you and what advice do you have for future students?
Growing up on the farm in country NSW, I had spent a lot of time getting hands-on experience with engineering by building and modifying earthmoving and farm equipment. Coming to RMIT allowed me to hone my theoretical skills so I could take my hands-on building skills to a new level, building more efficient, stronger and faster systems.
Also, it taught me to work in a team and conduct myself in a more professional manner.
What advice do I have for future students? Immerse yourself in the experience. RMIT has so much to offer, other than just courses to get your degree. They have so many extracurricular activities, clubs, societies, and projects going on in Melbourne and around the world and there is nothing stopping you from getting involved and being awesome.
Find out how you can get connected while you study.
You can find out more about what Zac and the VicHyper team are up to on Twitter.