Richard Branson Beats Elon Musk: Virgin Hyperloop Makes History With First Crew Test (Video)
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Virgin Hyperloop made history 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 company has been known by many names - including Hyperloop Technologies, Hyperloop One, and Virgin Hyperloop One - but has always been focused on one goal: transforming the way people travel. Six years later, Luchian and Giegel traveled 48 meters per second on a 500-meter journey through the Nevada desert. "We took a big step towards that last dream," Giegel said in a statement . "Not just for me, but for all of us who are looking towards a full moon here on Earth."
Tied to the two-seater XP-2, the pair made their maiden voyage to Virgin's DevLoop test site in Las Vegas, where the company has previously conducted more than 400 unoccupied tests.
The prototype vehicle was designed with many of the safety systems that passengers can expect in a future commercial hyperloop, which will feature larger cars that seat 28 people and travel at speeds of up to 670 mph. In fact, it's so fast that the 382-mile trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco - a 1.5-hour plane ride or a six-hour drive - will take less than 45 minutes.
"Hyperloop is about so much more than technology. It's about what it enables," Luchian said. "For me, the passenger experience ties it all together. And what better way to design the future than to experience it first hand?"
This is just the latest milestone for Virgin Hyperloop, which last month unveiled West Virginia as the location of its Hyperloop Certification Center (HCC). And, earlier this year, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the Council for Emerging and Non-Traditional Transportation Technology (NETT) introduced a regulatory framework for Hyperloop in the United States.
"For the past few years, the Virgin Hyperloop team has been working to turn their innovative technology into reality," according to Virgin Group founder Richard Branson . "With the successful test [on Sunday], we have shown that this spirit of innovation will indeed change the way people live, work and travel for years to come."