Urban Transport

Virgin gets on board Hyperloop One with "substantial investment"

Virgin gets on board Hyperloop...
Virgin Hyperloop One uses pods travelling through evacuated tubes
Virgin Hyperloop One uses pods travelling through evacuated tubes
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Sir Richard Branson visited the Hyperloop One – now known as Virgin Hyperloop One – test site in Nevada earlier this year
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Sir Richard Branson visited the Hyperloop One – now known as Virgin Hyperloop One – test site in Nevada earlier this year
The Hyperloop test track is located north of Las Vegas, Nevada
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The Hyperloop test track is located north of Las Vegas, Nevada
Virgin Hyperloop One uses pods travelling through evacuated tubes
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Virgin Hyperloop One uses pods travelling through evacuated tubes

Thanks to Sir Richard Branson, Hyperloop One is now Virgin Hyperloop One. The rebranding was announced by the Virgin Group founder and CEO on his blog, in which he said that the change follows an undisclosed, but substantial investment by Virgin in the US-based transportation start up.

According to Sir Richard, the investment in Virgin Hyperloop One is in line with the company's commitment to disruption and investment in innovative companies, including Virgin Airways and Virgin Galactic. He said that Virgin was particularly attracted to the Hyperloop's all-electric design, which is in line with the brand's commitment to sustainable green technologies.

Based on a white paper released by Elon Musk in 2013, the system being developed by Virgin Hyperloop One uses passenger and cargo pods suspended by magnetic levitation inside a steel tube evacuated to a near total vacuum. Accelerated to speeds above Mach 1 (761 mph, 1,225 km/h) by an electromagnetic drive, friction is further reduced by means of a compressor that scoops up the remaining air in front of the pod and expels it astern as the pod travels through the tube.

So far, the system has been restricted to the Hyperloop One test track outside Las Vegas, Nevada. The longest test to date lasted 10.6 seconds with a top speed of 192 mph (310 km/h) over a distance of 436 m (1,430 ft). Feasibility studies for building hyperloop networks are being conducted in North America, Europe, Britain, India, and the Middle East.

"Earlier this summer I was fortunate to visit the [Nevada] site and see first-hand the exciting technology being tested," said Sir Richard. "I was very impressed and now look forward to helping turn this cutting edge engineering into a global passenger service."

Source: Virgin

5 comments
Daishi
I'm still calling myself a Hyperloop skeptic but I'd rather see them succeed than fail. I would go a fundamentally different direction in a mass transit system. My view is average speed matters more than top speed and as such the "ski lift" method of many smaller transports continually cycling around would deliver similar average travel times with a lower top speed because it's continuous and "full duplex" rather than half duplex like a train going back and fourth on the same track. If the tracks are each used only in one direction multiple trains can be placed on the track behind each other, people don't have to wait to get on, and the total volume of people that can be moved at the same time is higher. Build the systems like networks and measure the performance in PPS (people per second) per square meter used. The average speed of a vehicle in manhattan is 8.51 MPH. You don't have to hit 400 MPH to improve the situation, you just have to keep the people flowing. Anyway good luck to Mr. Richard Branson (and Musk).
christopherbunch
Shame Mr Branson can't seem to find the money to update his fleet of ageing 747 Virgin Atlantic fleet. I was taxiing round Gatwick airport in a brand new Norwegian Air 787 a few days ago and saw three of them looking very tired, dirty and with paint peeling off the engine covers and tail fins. They were the shabbiest planes in the airport. No wonder that Norwegian is beating the crap out of them over the Atlantic.
Nik
Remembering the disasters of the first pressurised jet aircraft, I can only hope that the designers have looked at ALL the design parameters. The potential for a disaster must be very high, given the proposed speeds, and the close confinement of the vehicle. What would be the result if the tube is breached, and the passenger pod hits a wall of air at full speed? There are numerous ways, both natural, and unnatural that this could happen. The resulting deceleration, is likely to puree the passengers, against the forward bulkheads.
Antony Stewart
speed and long distances are artificial, at the end of the day they confuse society quite a lot and are expensive. perhaps VR and holograms are faster at the end of the day. for holidays it sounds awesome though. the boring company will probably focus on extruding or rolling the sheets on site, with rotary welders to weld tubes in place. what about a spiral of metal and a rotary welder?
YuraG
If I built a bike with square wheels made of gold and the frame made of platinum, a few luminaries would be impressed and might even part their money for it. But the bike would not be good for riding though, to put it mildly.