The Virgin Hyperloop has taken one step closer to becoming a reality after it successfully performed its first crewed test this weekend. The test was conducted at the company’s DevLoop facility in Nevada, in which two passengers were sent hurtling through the 500-meter long tube at speeds of up to 172 km/h.
The two passengers lucky enough to take the first Hyperloop trip were Virgin Hyperloop’s chief technology officer and co-founder, Josh Giegel, along with the company’s head of passenger experience, Sara Luchian. Before the journey took place, both Giegel and Luchian were put through extensive tests and training to make sure they were physically up for the task. They were also given a thorough walkthrough of the newly built tube to ensure they knew where the various exit points were in the event that something went wrong during the test.
Once the tests and safety procedures were out the way, the pair boarded the brand-new, Hyperloop pod, codenamed XP-2. The pod was designed to comfortably seat two people and features hefty five-point harnesses for each passenger.
In terms of the journey itself, the XP-2’s top speed was limited to 172 km/h, which is about less than half of the pod’s top speed. The reason the speed was limited is because of the length of the tube. At 500 metres, that simply isn’t long enough for the pod to read its top of 386 km/h, which we saw an example of when the company conducted a speed test in 2017.
— Mounir Harfouche (@MounirHarfouche) November 9, 2020
“No one has done anything close to what we’re talking about right now,” Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop, told The Verge. “This is a full scale, working hyperloop that is not just going to run in a vacuum environment, but is going to have a person in it. No one has come close to doing it.”