Virgin Hyperloop made history today as the first people successfully traveled in a hyperloop pod.
Photo : The test took place at Virgin Hyperloop’s 500 meter DevLoop test site in Las Vegas, Nevada / Credits © Virgin Hyperloop
“For the past few years, the Virgin Hyperloop team has been working on turning its ground breaking technology into reality,” said Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group. “With today’s successful test, we have shown that this spirit of innovation will in fact change the way people everywhere live, work, and travel in the years to come.”
The testing campaign, from the beginning stages all the way through to today’s successful demonstration, was overseen by the industry-recognized Independent Safety Assessor (ISA) Certifer. Having undergone a rigorous and exhaustive safety process, the newly-unveiled XP-2 vehicle demonstrates many of the safety-critical systems that will be found on a commercial hyperloop system and is equipped with a state-of-the-art control system that can detect off-nominal states and rapidly trigger appropriate emergency responses.
“I can’t tell you how often I get asked ‘is hyperloop safe?,’” said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop. “With today’s passenger testing, we have successfully answered this question, demonstrating that not only can Virgin Hyperloop safely put a person in a pod in a vacuum environment, but that the company has a thoughtful approach to safety which has been validated by an independent third party.”
Josh Giegel, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, and Sara Luchian, Director of Passenger Experience, were the first people in the world to ride on this new form of transportation. The test took place at Virgin Hyperloop’s 500 meter DevLoop test site in Las Vegas, Nevada where the company has previously run over 400 un-occupied tests.
“Hyperloop is about so much more than the technology. It’s about what it enables – the trips you’d be able to take from Paris to Berlin, Lisbon to Madrid, or Warsaw to Prague.”
“When we started in a garage over 6 years ago, the goal was simple – to transform the way people move,” said Josh Giegel, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Virgin Hyperloop. “Today, we took one giant leap toward that ultimate dream, not only for me, but for all of us who are looking towards a moonshot right here on Earth.”
“Today, with this ever first test run of an hyperloop pod with passengers on-board, Virgin Hyperloop really achieved a major step of progress and have proved that this new mode of transport could become a reality in a near future,” said Carole Desnost, Director of Innovation and Research at SNCF. “We welcome this technical performance highlighting the quality of the work carried out by VH teams on safety and reliability topics. Working with VH since 2016, SNCF is proud to congratulate Jay Walder, Josh Giegel, and all the team for this great success.”
The occupants made their maiden voyage on the newly-unveiled XP-2 vehicle, designed by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group and Kilo Design, which was custom-built with occupant safety and comfort in mind. While the production vehicle will be larger and seat up to 28 passengers, this 2-seater XP-2 vehicle was built to demonstrate that passengers can in fact safely travel in a hyperloop vehicle.
“Hyperloop is about so much more than the technology. It’s about what it enables – the trips you’d be able to take from Paris to Berlin, Lisbon to Madrid, or Warsaw to Prague” said Sara Luchian, Director of Passenger Experience for Virgin Hyperloop. “To me, the passenger experience ties it all together. And what better way to design the future than to actually experience it first-hand?”
This announcement builds off of significant progress in Europe. The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DGMOVE) has held numerous workshops over the past 2 years with hyperloop companies in conjunction with regulatory authorities and standards bodies – leading to the establishment of a baseline for the functional blocks of a hyperloop system and safety requirements. The European Commission is now carrying out a 9 month study to develop a safety regulatory approach for Europe, the results of which will be used by the Commission to develop the regulatory policy for hyperloop technologies. Active discussions are also underway with several European regulatory authorities.
This momentum, combined with the decision to build a Hyperloop Certification Center in the US and the historic safety demonstration achieved today, will pave the way for the certification of hyperloop systems – a key step towards commercial projects, including those in Europe.
By combining an ultra-efficient electric motor, magnetic levitation, and a low-drag environment, hyperloop systems can carry more people than a subway, at airline speeds, and with zero direct emissions. With the goal to be safety certified by 2025 and begin commercial operations by 2030, the 100% electric Virgin Hyperloop system could play a key role in helping achieve the European Green Deal’s climate-neutrality objective.