Virgin’s Hyperloop carries first passengers in test run


The Virgin Hyperloop made its first journey carrying passengers Sunday, in a test the company claimed represented a major step forward for the “groundbreaking” technology capable of transporting people at 620 miles an hour.

The Hyperloop is intended to carry passengers in small pods through a vacuum tube, with proponents arguing it could revolutionize high-speed travel.

Virgin says the Hyperloop will be able to reach top speeds of 1,080 kilometers an hour  — projecting a 45-minute journey from Los Angeles to San Francisco — and will produce no carbon emissions.

But until Sunday the technology, first proposed by eccentric U.S. tech magnate Elon Musk in 2012, hadn’t been tested with people on board.

Virgin Hyperloop test in Las Vegas, Nevada
A Virgin Hyperloop pod is seen at company’s DevLoop test site in Las Vegas in November 8, 2020 handout image released by Virgin Hyperloop.

Virgin Hyperloop handout via Reuters

Two Virgin employees made the 500-meter journey in a two-person vehicle in just 15 seconds at a test site in the Nevada desert.

One of them, Director of Passenger Experience Sara Luchian, told the BBC she felt the trip was “exhilarating both psychologically and physically” and reported no discomfort.

Once brought into regular use, the pods would be able to transport up to 28 people at a time, Virgin says, with larger models for moving goods also in development.

FILE PHOTO: Artist's rendering of Virgin Hyperloop's forthcoming certification center and test track to be built in West Virginia
Artist’s rendering of Virgin Hyperloop’s forthcoming certification center and test track to be built in West Virginia is seen in handout image obtained by Reuters on October 8, 2020. 

Virgin Hyperloop handout via Reuters

Virgin’s Hyperloop has raised more than $400 million, largely from company CEO Richard Branson and the logistics company DP World, which is owned by the Dubai government. Virgin is one of a number of companies working to develop the technology.

But while Branson hailed the success of the “groundbreaking” Hyperloop Sunday, concerns have dogged developers about just how safe the technology would be.

One researcher at Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology argued that the high speeds involved could turn the Hyperloop into a “barf ride.”

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.