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Virgin Hyperloop unveils its vision for the passenger experience of the future

A concept video shows how the company has taken some of the best aspects from aviation, rail, automotive, and even hospitality to create a new kind of passenger experience.

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Virgin Hyperloop has revealed how the passenger experience will look for its high-speed transportation system in a new concept video.

 

The company has worked with a number of partners across disparate industries to design a multi-sensory experience, including architects, designers, urbanists Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) for the portal designs, design company Teague for the pod designs, SeeThree for for the video and animation, and Man Made Music for the score and sonic identity.

 

Greener, smoother transit experience

 

Virgin Hyperloop wants to convey a greener, smoother, safer, and more pleasant mass transit experience. Beyond the typical touchpoints in transportation, Virgin Hyperloop also researched and incorporated findings from more non-traditional interactions, such as sound.

 

“Designing a new mode of transportation from scratch is both an opportunity and a responsibility,” said Sara Luchian, Virgin Hyperloop’s director of passenger experience and one of the first people to ride the hyperloop in November.

 

“Hyperloop technology – and what it enables – is paradigm-shifting. It follows that the passenger experience should be nothing short of extraordinary.”

 

Bjarke Ingels, founder and creative director of BIG, said that Virgin Hyperloop can accelerate the future of mobility on land. “The new mode of travel at supersonic speed rethinks transportation and the perception of space, landscape, time, and distance,” he said.

Hyperloop will be able to transport thousands of passengers per hour. Image: Virgin Hyperloop
Hyperloop will be able to transport thousands of passengers per hour. Image: Virgin Hyperloop
Recessed seat wells provide a greater sense of space for passengers. Image: Virgin Hyperloop
Recessed seat wells provide a greater sense of space for passengers. Image: Virgin Hyperloop

He added: “In this day and age, Virgin Hyperloop taking off from our portals provides holistic, intelligent transportation for a globalised community to travel across vast distances in a safer, cleaner, easier, and faster way than airlines.”

 

John Barratt, CEO and president, Teague, said when designing the pods, the company looked at “decades of experience” of how people and things move across various modalities, taking some of the best aspects from aviation, rail, automotive, and even hospitality. He added: Recessed seat wells provide a greater sense of space, while the raised aisle is a touch of the unexpected and unique.

“All lighting in the pod, including the unassuming information displays – are dynamic and adjust based on traveller activity and journey milestones”

“Bands of greenery and wood textures subvert the aesthetic of typical mass transit materials with something optimistic and fresh. All lighting in the pod, including the unassuming information displays – are dynamic and adjust based on traveller activity and journey milestones.”

 

Sound will also be an important part of the experience. “Through proprietary research and a design thinking approach to creating sound and sonic solutions for Virgin Hyperloop, Man Made Music was able to address a myriad of potential challenges for this new mode of transportation, from how to evoke a sense of privacy and space to an enhanced sense of safety and calm,” said Joel Beckerman, founder and lead composer, Man Made Music.

 

He added: “We respond to sound quicker than any other sense, so sound actually drives the multi-sensory experiences. The sonic cues of the Virgin Hyperloop identity system serves as a guide for passengers throughout their experience while instilling confidence, safety, and clarity – you ‘feel’ it rather than ‘hear’ it. Just like a great movie score, it tells you the story. We know when we’ve got it right when you don’t notice the sound at all: the interface is humanised in ways that are both fresh and familiar.”

 

High throughput

 

On demand and direct to destination, the hyperloop system would be able to transport thousands of passengers per hour, despite the fact that each vehicle carries only about 28 passengers. This high throughput is achieved by convoying, where vehicles are able to travel behind one another in the tube within milliseconds, controlled by Virgin Hyperloop’s machine intelligence software.

 

Following its successful passenger testing at the end of last year, Virgin Hyperloop is currently paving the way for the regulation and certification of hyperloop systems around the world. The company aims to achieve safety certification by 2025, with commercial operations – such as those depicted in this video – beginning in 2030.

“Daily high-speed transport is currently not feasible for most people, but we want to change that notion”

A key pillar of Virgin Hyperloop’s passenger experience is accessibility, ensuring that this new form of transportation will expand opportunities for the masses. While ticket prices will vary depending on the exact route, a recent feasibility study by Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) found that hyperloop fares would be more akin to the cost of driving, rather than flying.

 

“It’s simple. If it’s not affordable, people won’t use it,” said Jay Walder, CEO, Virgin Hyperloop. “Daily high-speed transport is currently not feasible for most people, but we want to change that notion. Imagine being able to commute between cities that are currently hours apart in minutes – and the endless possibilities that opens up.”

 

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