LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Virgin Hyperloop says it made history on Sunday by testing human travel in one of its hyperloop pods for the first time.
The company says its two-person pod traveled 107 mph on its 500-meter DevLoop test site in Las Vegas, where more than 400 unoccupied tests have been run before.
The first two people to ride in the new form of transportation were one of the company’s co-founders, Josh Giegel, and its director of passenger experience, Sara Luchian.
The occupants made the maiden voyage on the newly unveiled XP-2 vehicle, which Virgin says was custom-built with safety and comfort in mind.
Virgin says its vehicles glide using no-contact electromagnetic levitation through a vacuum environment that reduces air pressure down to the equivilanet of 200,000 ft. above sea level. That lowers aerodynamic drag allows for higher speeds to be achieved using minimal energy.According to the company’s website, the system can propel passenger cargo pods at speed of over 600 mph.
The company says two-person pod was built to demonstrate passengers can safely travel in a hyperloop vehicle and that the final pods will be larger, seating up to 28 passengers.
Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group, said in a press release that he hopes the hyperloop will change the way people live, work and travel in the years to come.
“I can’t tell you how often I get asked ‘is hyperloop safe?,’” said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop. “With today’s passenger testing, we have successfully answered this question, demonstrating that not only can Virgin Hyperloop safely put a person in a pod in a vacuum environment, but that the company has a thoughtful approach to safety which has been validated by an independent third party.”
This isn’t the only stride Virgin has made with its goal of establishing hyperloop systems across the world. Last month, the company unveiled it would be building its Hyperloop Certification Center in West Virginia. And In July, the Department of Transportation and the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology Council unveiled the guidance document on a clear regulatory framework for hyperloop in the U.S.
Virgin says the announcement provides a pathway for hyperloop regulation and deployment in America and establishes hyperloop’s eligibility for federal funding for projects.