Not far away from Las Vegas on Sunday, the company called Virgin Hyperloop conducted the first-ever test of a high-speed levitating transport system with two passengers on board.
During the test, the hyperloop pod called Pegasus reached the speed of 107 mph (160 km/h) in a 500-meter tunnel. It took the vehicle 15 seconds to travel the distance of 500 meters down Virgin’s DevLoop test track in the Nevada desert. The first passengers of the two-seater Experimental-Pod-2 (XP-2) were chief technology officer and co-founder of Virgin Hyperloop Josh Giegel and head of the passenger experience Sara Luchian.
“For the past few years, the Virgin Hyperloop team has been working on turning its ground breaking technology into reality,” said Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group. “With today’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.”
This futuristic transportation uses magnetic levitation to lift the pod above the track and push it forward in a vacuum tube.
Before the test involving people, the company previously ran over 400 Pegasus tests on a track called DevLoop (the airless track’s diameter is 3.3 m), but all of them took place without passengers. Virgin Hyperloop noted that the Pegasus is a scaled-down version of what should eventually be a full-size finished pod, which aims to seat up to 28 passengers.
Virgin Hyperloop (formerly Hyperloop Technologies and Hyperloop One) was founded in 2014 after the idea of a futuristic transport with magnetic levitation capsules was announced by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. According to the entrepreneur, magnetic levitation trains moving through vacuum pipelines can theoretically reach speeds of up to 1,223 km/h.
Earlier, Elon Musk's The Boring Company completed the drilling of the second tunnel near Las Vegas. This "miniature" Hyperloop is due to be completed by the start of the CES exhibition in January 2021.
In the future, Virgin Hyperloop plans to build a network of vacuum tubes and levitating pods that will move at the speed of up to 600 mph.