Virgin Hyperloop has just completed the first manned test of its very high-speed transport technology. During this historic test, two passengers successfully “traveled” about 500 meters.
Hyperloop is a term that has been “tickling” our ears for several years. But what are we talking about, exactly? Just imagine a supersonic train, capable of moving at more than 1,200 km / h, the goal naturally being to reduce travel times as much as possible. It was Elon Musk, in 2013, who described the concept in a very concrete way, proposing the technical bases of this new means of transport.
Since then, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX has been developing his own transport system through The Boring Company. However, he also placed the project in open-source in 2013, so as to leave the door open to other companies. Some took advantage of it, such as the American Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT or HTT) and the Canadian TransPod. However, they are not the only ones.
Start-up Hyperloop One, which officially became Virgin Hyperloop three years ago after billionaire Richard Branson’s investment, is also in the race. It is also the one that shows the most progress. After several dozen other tests carried out “empty”, Virgin Hyperloop has just taken a further step.
First manned trip
This Sunday, November 8, 2020, two passengers were able to embark on a 500-meter journey not far from Las Vegas, a first.
As part of this test, the two occupants integrated a vehicle named XP-2, a two-seater capsule designed by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group and Kilo Design). It reached a maximum speed of 172 km / h. Of course, we are still far from 1200 km / h, but Virgin specifies that the purpose of this full-scale test was simply to demonstrate that humans can travel safely aboard the capsule.
Commissioning from 2030?
Virgin Hyperloop aims to achieve security certification by 2025 in order to launch its first commercial services by 2030.
Ultimately, the capsules will be able to carry up to 28 passengers. We know that it will be a question of connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco in just thirty minutes (instead of six hours by car), but Virgin Hyperloop also intends to win internationally. The company has indeed already engaged with Saudi Arabia, Dubai, but also with the Indian state of Maharashtra, with the aim of connecting the cities of Mumbai and Pune, which are about 150 kilometers apart.