Virgin Hyperloop has passed a major milestone after the state-of-the-art transportation system hosted its first-ever human passengers.
According to the official statement, Josh Giegel, co-founder and CTO, and Sara Luchian, director of Passenger Experience, at Virgin Hyperloop, were the first two passengers with the pair taking a trip inside the 500m DevLoop test site in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The company stated that it has run over 400 un-occupied tests, to date, while Giegel and Luchian travelled in the newly unveiled custom built XP – 2 vehicle, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group. The company said that the production vehicle will be larger and be able to seat up to 28 passengers.
Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, said: “For the past few years, the Virgin Hyperloop team has been working on turning its ground-breaking technology into reality.”
“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,” he added.
Virgin Hyperloop had previously announced a partnership with Abu Dhabi’s Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) to support the development of hyperloop technology and sustainable transportation through advanced AI research.
Commenting on the occasion, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Virgin Hyperloop and Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, said: “I had the true pleasure of seeing history being made before my very eyes – to witness the first new mode of mass transportation in over 100 years come to life. We are one step closer to ushering in a new era of ultra-fast, sustainable movement of people and goods.”
“DP World and Dubai are at the forefront of technological innovation in the transport and logistics industry. The world has been changing quickly and we wanted to be involved in the potential this mode of mass transportation presents, to connect markets and economies, keep trade flowing and help build the global economy’s next phase to accelerate growth,” he added.
The statement added that the testing campaign, from the beginning stages all the way through to the successful demonstration, was overseen by the industry-recognised Independent Safety Assessor (ISA) Certifer. It further added that the pod has undergone a rigorous and exhaustive safety process, and the XP-2 vehicle demonstrates many of the safety-critical systems that will be found on a commercial hyperloop system. It is also equipped with a state-of-the-art control system that can detect off-nominal states and rapidly trigger appropriate emergency responses.
On the momentous occasion, Luchian, said: “Hyperloop is about so much more than the technology. It’s about what it enables – the trips you’d be able to take from Paris to Berlin, Lisbon to Madrid, or Warsaw to Prague. To me, the passenger experience ties it all together. And what better way to design the future than to actually experience it first-hand?”
Meanwhile, Giegel, added: “When we started in a garage over six years ago, the goal was simple – to transform the way people move. Today, we took one giant leap toward that ultimate dream, not only for me, but for all of us who are looking towards a moonshot right here on Earth.”
This historic testing milestone, combined with the advancements at the Hyperloop Certification Centre, is expected to pave the way for the certification of hyperloop systems around the world – a key step towards commercial projects, including those in Saudi Arabia and UAE.