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First passengers travel safely on Virgin Hyperloop

The test on the new form of transportation took place at Virgin Hyperloop’s 500-metre DevLoop test site in Las Vegas, where the company has previously run over 400 unoccupied tests.

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The XP-2 was built to demonstrate that passengers can safely travel in a hyperloop vehicle.
The XP-2 was built to demonstrate that passengers can safely travel in a hyperloop vehicle.

Virgin Hyperloop has announced the completion of a test of its ultra-fast hyperloop pod transportation system with human passengers for the first time.

 

The test took place at the company’s 500-metre DevLoop test site in the Nevada Desert, Las Vegas, where the company has previously performed more than 400 unoccupied tests.

 

Ground-breaking technology

 

“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 inaugural passengers were Josh Giegel, co-founder and chief technology officer, and Sara Luchian, director of passenger experience.

 

The occupants made their voyage on the newly unveiled XP-2 vehicle, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and Kilo Design. While the production vehicle will be larger and seat up to 28 passengers, this two-seater XP-2 vehicle was built to demonstrate that passengers can in fact safely travel in a hyperloop vehicle, according to Virgin Hyperloop.

 

“When we started in a garage over six years ago, the goal was simple – to transform the way people move,” said Giegel. “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.”

Josh Giegel and Sara Luchian ride the first new form of transportation in over a century
Josh Giegel and Sara Luchian ride the first new form of transportation in over a century

The testing campaign, from the beginning stages all the way through to today’s successful demonstration, was overseen by the industry-recognised Independent Safety Assessor (ISA) Certifier.

“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”

Having undergone a rigorous and exhaustive safety process, Virgin claims the 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.

 

The development builds off of significant momentum on the regulatory front. Last month, Virgin Hyperloop unveiled West Virginia as the location for the Hyperloop Certification Centre.

 

In July 2020, the US Department of Transportation (USDoT) secretary Elaine Chao and the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council unveiled the guidance document on a clear regulatory framework for hyperloop in the US.

 

This federal momentum, combined with the advancements at the HCC and the historic safety demonstration achieved with this test will pave the way for the certification of hyperloop systems around the world – a key step towards commercial projects, notes Virgin Hyperloop.

 

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