Virgin Hyperloop Makes History With First Crewed Test
A pair of company employees took a ride in the first new form of transportation in more than a century.
Virgin Hyperloop made history on Sunday when it completed the world's first hyperloop passenger test. Company co-founder and CTO Josh Giegel and Director of Passenger Experience Sara Luchian were the first to ride Virgin's new form of transportation: Experimental Pod-2 (XP-2).
Since its launch in 2014, the firm has been known by many names (including Hyperloop Technologies, Hyperloop One, and Virgin Hyperloop One), but has always focused on one goal: to transform the way people travel. Six years later, Luchian and Giegel traveled 48 meters-per-second on a 500-meter trip through the Nevada desert. "We took one giant leap toward that ultimate dream," Giegel said in a statement. "Not only for me, but for all of us who are looking toward a moonshot right here on Earth."
Strapped into the two-seater XP-2, the pair made their maiden voyage at Virgin's DevLoop test site in Las Vegas, where the company has previously run more than 400 unoccupied tests.
The prototype vehicle was designed with many of the safety systems passengers can expect on a future commercial hyperloop, which will boast larger cars with seating for up to 28 and travelk at speeds of up to 670mph. It's so fast, in fact, that the 382-mile trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco—a 1.5-hour plane ride or six-hour drive—will take less than 45 minutes.
"Hyperloop is about so much more than the technology. It's about what it enables," Luchian said. "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 is just the latest milestone for Virgin Hyperloop, which last month unveiled West Virginia as the location for its Hyperloop Certification Center (HCC). And, earlier this year, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) and Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council introduced a regulatory framework for hyperloop in the United States.
"For the past few years, the Virgin Hyperloop team has been working on turning its ground-breaking technology into reality," according to Virgin Group founder Richard Branson. "With [Sunday'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."
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