As South by Southwest (SXSW) Pitch returns for its 16th iteration, this year’s finalists include a pair of Texas Engineering-led startups.

The annual event, which has become a staple of SXSW, showcases rising startup technologies from around the world, as companies pitch their latest cutting-edge ideas across eight categories. The Student Startup category features two companies spearheaded by brilliant students from The University of Texas at Austin. MACH Transit and Paradigm Robotics  have each come up with innovative solutions to address some unique needs within different technology sectors.

The MACH team’s new levitating camera can capture footage at over 200 mph, taking inspiration from watching Formula One and NASCAR racing. Photo from MACH Transit.

The MACH Transit team has developed a revolutionary new magnetic levitation (maglev) technology and are looking to introduce it into U.S. markets where it is currently lacking. In particular, the team is piloting a levitating camera that can capture footage at over 200 mph, taking inspiration from watching Formula One and NASCAR racing. Such technology would allow motorsports broadcasts to achieve new and exciting camera angles that have not yet been possible. Aaditya Ranjit, MACH Transit co-founder and chief operating officer and a 2023 graduate of the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering, will also participate in a SXSW session on March 14, Magnetizing Mobility: The Journey to Maglev in the U.S., with Ashley Jennings, managing director of the University’s Texas Innovation Center.

“MACH Transit was founded by a team of UT engineers with a passion for green transportation born out of the research that we spearheaded while leading Texas Guadaloop, UT Austin’s student-led hyperloop research team,” Ranjit said. “We are currently developing our flagship product: The MACH Vision, a commercial magnetic levitation camera dolly with a debut market in motorsports cinematography. The MACH Vision will be the fastest ground-mounted camera in the world, capable of synchronized travel with the fastest vehicles in motorsports and creating the perfect proving grounds for commercial maglev technology.”

Paradigm Robotics aims to develop new technologies to better protect those working in firefighting, disaster response and manufacturing industries. One such technology the team has developed is the FireBot, an unmanned ground vehicle that can be deployed into burning buildings, in place of firefighters, for rescue operations.

“It’s such an honor to be selected as a finalist and it’s a testament to the work being carried out by our incredible team and technical partners,” said Jimmy Mahon, chief operating officer for Paradigm Robotics and a 2023 graduate of Chandra Family Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “The core of our vision is serving the needs of firefighters through innovation, and we’re hungrier than ever to prove that FireBot represents a generational leap in firefighting technology. With FireBot V4 rolling out in the coming months, we look forward to showing the world what it means for a robot to be ‘forged by flames.’”

 All SXSW Pitch finalists will showcase their innovations during the first weekend of SXSW, March 9-10, at the Hilton Hotel – Salon DE (4th Floor) at 535 East 5th Street.