For the first time ever, passengers have travelled safely and successfully aboard a hyperloop, with a recent test in the Nevada Desert seeing them reaching speeds of 48 meters per second - or 107 miles per hour - over a distance of 395 meters.

Hosted by Virgin Hyperloop, the test saw Josh Giegel, CTO and co-founder and Sara Luchian, director of Passenger Experience, riding in a pod at the company’s 500-meter DevLoop test site in Las Vegas, where the company has previously run over 400 un-occupied tests. The occupants made their maiden voyage in a newly-unveiled XP-2 vehicle, designed by BIG Bjarke Ingels Group and Kilo Design, which was custom-built to maximise comfort as well as occupant safety. The two-seater version was used to demonstrate the safety of the technology, while plans are in place for a larger production vehicle that will be able to house 28 passengers.

The two-person craft was designed to test safety features © Virgin Hyperloop

“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,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.

The XP-2 vehicle has been designed with many of the safety features that will be on the commercial hyperloop system and includes a protocol that can detect any issues and automatically trigger emergency responses. 

The successful test is a good sign of things to come for the technology © Virgin Hyperloop

“I can’t tell you how often I get asked ‘is hyperloop safe?’ 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,” said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop.

Last month, Virgin Hyperloop unveiled West Virginia as the location for the Hyperloop Certification Center (HCC), while in July, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Elaine Chao and the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council unveiled the guidance document on a clear regulatory framework for hyperloop in the United States.

More information on the project is available at the official Virgin Hyperloop website.

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