US: Virgin Hyperloop scripts history; completes first human passenger ride
Richard Branson-backed Virgin Hyperloop created history on Sunday after successfully completing the world's first human passenger ride in a hyperloop pod at its DevLoop test facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. Two company executives traveled in a super-high-speed levitating pod system, reaching speeds of up to 172km/hr, in a crucial safety test for the technology that aims to transform transportation. Here's more.
'Pleasure of seeing history made before my very eyes'
"I had the true pleasure of seeing history made before my very eyes," said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop and Group Chairman-Chief Executive of DP World. The company previously conducted more than 400 tests at the Nevada test site, but without human passengers. Interestingly, Virgin Hyperloop is working to achieve safety certification by 2025 and then commence commercial operations by 2030.
'Innovation will change the way people everywhere live, work, travel'
"For the past few years, the Virgin Hyperloop team has been working on turning its groundbreaking technology into reality," said Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group. "With today's (Sunday) 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.
'Sets a bar for everybody': Virgin Hyperloop CEO
"I can't tell you how often I get asked, 'Is hyperloop safe?'" said Virgin Hyperloop CEO, Jay Walder. "With passenger testing, we have 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...We did it. It sets a bar for everybody," he added.
Pune engineer is one of the next passengers
On Sunday, Josh Giegel, the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Virgin Hyperloop, and Sara Luchian, the Director of Passenger Experience, became the first passengers to ride on the new ultra-fast transportation system. Next, the company's Power Electronics Specialist, Tanay Manjrekar, will be riding in a pod on Monday. He is an Electrical, Electronics, and Communications engineer who graduated from the University of Pune.
VH hits crucial milestone; take a look at passenger test
VH plans to connect Mumbai to Pune in 25 minutes
Globally, many companies are currently working on developing hyperloop systems or similar technologies, including the US-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Canada's TransPod, Spain's Zeleros, and Netherlands-based Hardt. However, Virgin Hyperloop is the only company that plans to develop the innovative transport system in India. It plans to connect Mumbai-Pune in just 25 minutes. It also proposes to connect Amritsar-Ludhiana-Chandigarh and Bengaluru airport-Bengaluru city center.
'Working on hyperloop is truly a dream come true': Manjrekar
"Working on hyperloop - let alone being one of the first to ride it - is truly a dream come true," said Manjrekar. "It is my hope that India sees the tremendous opportunity ahead of them - to embrace the challenge and leapfrog the rest of the world yet again - and continues to progress the Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project," he added.
What is hyperloop?
Hyperloop is a revolutionary mode of passenger and freight transport in which a sealed tube (or a system of such tubes) with low air pressure allows small pods to travel with speeds upwards of 1,000km/hr theoretically, without air resistance or friction. The concept, which uses magnetic levitation, was conceived in 2012 by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.