Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop creates history: Completes first test ride with top executives

Virgin Hyperloop Image credits: Virgin Hyperloop

In a latest development, Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop has completed the world’s first passenger ride on a hyperloop pod. Virgin Hyperloop executives – Josh Giegel, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, and Sara Luchian, Director of Passenger Experience, were the first people to ride on this levitating superpod.   

“For the past few years, the Virgin Hyperloop team has been working on turning its groundbreaking 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.”

Virgin Hyperloop
Image credits: Virgin Hyperloop

Where did it take place?

As per the company claims, the test took place at Virgin Hyperloop’s 500-meter DevLoop test site in Las Vegas, where the company has previously run over 400 un-occupied tests. The pod reached speed up to 107 miles per hour (172 km per hour) at the test site. 

Both Josh Giegel and Sara Luchian made their world’s first voyage in XP-2 vehicle, a custom-built demo vehicle with just 2 seaters, designed by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group and Kilo Design. 

“When we started in a garage over 6 years ago, the goal was simple – to transform the way people move,” said Josh Giegel, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Virgin Hyperloop. “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.”

Production vehicle XP2 will be larger 

It’s worth mentioning that the XP2 production vehicle will be larger and seat up to 28 passengers. 

“Hyperloop is about so much more than the technology. It’s about what it enables,” said Sara Luchian, Director of Passenger Experience for Virgin Hyperloop. “To me, the passenger experience ties it all together. And what better way to design the future than to actually experience it first-hand?”

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop, watched this historic passenger testing first-hand.

“I had the true pleasure of seeing history made before my very eyes – to witness the first new mode of mass transportation in over 100 years come to life,” said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop and Group Chairman and CEO of DP World. “I have always had tremendous faith in the team at Virgin Hyperloop to transform this technology into a safe system, and today we have done that. We are one step closer to ushering in a new era of ultra-fast, sustainable movement of people and goods.”

State-of-the-art safety 

The XP2 vehicle is equipped with many of the safety-critical systems that will be found on a commercial hyperloop system. It has a state-of-the-art control system that can detect off-nominal states and rapidly trigger appropriate emergency responses.

“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.”