On November 8, 2020, Virgin Hyperloop completed the first-ever human passenger Hyperloop test. This is a huge step for the company trying to bring to life Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s vision of a futuristic, ultra-fast and environmentally friendly 5th mode of transportation. How are the results from this first passenger the test and what’s next for the Hyperloop?
About the Hyperloop
As mentioned in a previous article about the Hyperloop, it was originally conceived by Elon Musk in 2013 and has been touted as the fastest way to cross the surface of the Earth. Possibly one of the greatest leaps in transportation for generations, the concept promises to slash journey times between cities from several hours to a matter of minutes. Musk first mentioned that he was thinking about a concept for a “fifth mode of transport”, calling it the Hyperloop, in July 2012 at a PandoDaily event in Santa Monica, California. He envisions the more advanced versions will be able to go at hypersonic speed.
It’s cross between a Concorde, a railgun, and an air hockey table – Elon Musk – CEO of Tesla and SpaceX
Since 2015, the yearly Hyperloop Pod Competition sponsored by SpaceX allowed student and non-student teams to participate, design and for some, build a subscale prototype transport vehicle in order to demonstrate the technical feasibility of various aspects of the concept.
An Important Milestone
The test took place on November 8, 2020, at the Virgin Hyperloop’s DevLoop test track in the desert outside Las Vegas, Nevada. The first two passengers were Virgin Hyperloop’s chief technology officer and co-founder, Josh Giegel, and head of passenger experience, Sara Luchian.
The test was completed with the newly-unveiled XP-2 vehicle, which was custom-built with occupant safety and comfort in mind. While the production vehicle will be larger and seat up to 28 passengers, this 2-seater XP-2 vehicle was built to demonstrate that passengers can in fact safely travel in a hyperloop vehicle.
The pod accelerated up to 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) down the length of the 500 meters long track, before slowing down to a stop.
This is an incredible milestone for Virgin Hyperloop, one of the leaders in the race to build the first fully functional system, as it proves the safety of this futuristic mode of transport.
“I can’t tell you how often I get asked ‘is hyperloop safe?’, with today’s passenger testing, we have successfully answered this question” – Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop
What’s Next for Hyperloop?
This is not only a big step for Virgin Hyperloop, but it will also motivate other companies working on this technology, like Hyperloop Transportation Technology (HTT), Transpod Inc, or even TUM Hyperloop, a student team from the Technical University of Munich, to perform similar tests bring us closer to a faster, safer and greener future.
All of these companies are working closely with governments and partners to help advance their technology and construction, in countries like India, the United States, Belgium, France and the United Arab Emirates.
For more about the Hyperloop, check out our article covering everything you need to know about this futuristic technology, from how it works, to who’s building it, to what the potential cost could be! You can also listen to Episode 2 of The Detechtor Podcast where we discuss the Hyperloop, and whether it’s the future of travel.