The Virgin Hyperloop: Futuristic Transportation or The Next Big Thing?
November 24, 2020
A few days ago, on the 8th of November 2020, Virgin made history by successfully transporting two passengers aboard their new ultra-high-speed vehicle: The Virgin Hyperloop. This project has been in the works for quite some time now, with Richard Branson (founder of the Virgin group) and Elon Musk (‘product architect’ of Tesla and CEO of SpaceX) sat firmly in the driving seats.
But with this project edging ever closer to becoming a reality, and some even predicting it being available for public use within the decade, is the Virgin Hyperloop transit system genuinely a viable option, or just another science-fiction pipe dream?
Here’s the Facts
The Virgin Hyperloop really does seem to be the most futuristic transportation development we’ve been faced with for a long time. The design consists primarily of a sealed vacuum-creating tube. In this vacuum tube is a ‘hyperloop pod’, suspended using magnetic levitation technology. It has the capacity to travel both above and below ground, or even underwater.
It relies on a fairly basic theory: the less resistance for the object to go through, the faster it will go. The Hyperloop is taking this theory, amplifying it, and speeding it up. Roughly, by about 387 kilometres per hour (or 240 miles per hour, if you’d prefer!) in just over 30 minutes.
The two passengers aboard the Virgin Hyperloop’s first ‘maiden voyage’ were Sara Luchian, the Hyperloop’s Director of Passenger Experience, and Josh Giegel, who is the Chief Technology Officer of Hyperloop. It was also decided a month or so ago that West Virginia would be the new home location for the development of the hyperloop, as well as the new Certification Center.
This transportation system has been speeding on test track after test track in Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as in Las Vegas. The hyperloop systems and hyperloop technology are taking us one step closer to the futuristic world that has always been presented to us in film in television, and one step further than the high-speed rail systems, we’d almost been expecting. And with initiatives such as DP World Cargospeed set to elevate how we deliver goods, there looks to be no stopping the Virgin Hyperloop system.
The first run of the Tesla-Hyperloop hybrid “sans people” was back in 2012, and since then, they’ve run over 400 tests. In order to truly figure out the top speeds, most sustainable options, and realistic scalability of the project, they’ve obviously had to take their time. In the video demonstrating the vehicle’s first journey with passengers, the CEO of Hyperloop Jay Walder had this to say regarding both speed and safety:
“I think one of the things you have to recognize about safety is that there are no shortcuts, and sometimes people think of that as being an anathema to companies that are quick, innovative, entrepreneurial in the way that they’re doing it. This company, Virgin Hyperloop have adopted a true safety first culture of what we’re doing.”
This development in transportation technology is most definitely a huge one. For CLEMTECH, the future of train maintenance and rail consultancy procedures could be altered drastically in the coming years. The Virgin Hyperloop could improve a countless number of businesses across the world, and seems more and more like a viable option as the days go by.
We here at CLEMTECH are incredibly excited about the future of ‘futuristic transportation’. Are you? While you wait for the Hyperloop to be ready, why not see if CLEMTECH can help you with any of your rail maintenance/rail infrastructure needs?