Urban Transport

Virgin Hyperloop One sets new speed record

Virgin Hyperloop One's new speed record was set using an unmanned prototype travel pod
Virgin Hyperloop One's new speed record was set using an unmanned prototype travel pod
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The prototype travel pod being loaded into the test cylinder
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The prototype travel pod being loaded into the test cylinder
Virgin Hyperloop One's new speed record was set using an unmanned prototype travel pod
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Virgin Hyperloop One's new speed record was set using an unmanned prototype travel pod

Virgin Hyperloop One has set a new speed record at its DevLoop test center outside of Las Vegas. During its third test phase, which was completed on December 15, an unmanned test pod reached a speed of nearly 387 km/h (240 mph) while running through an evacuated cylinder depressurized to 0.0002 atmospheres (0.003 lb/in²), or the equivalent air pressure of an altitude of 200,000 feet (37 mi, 61 km) above sea level.

According to Virgin Hyperloop One, the December tests not only saw a record speed run that broke the company's previous best of 310 km/hr (193 mph), but included trials of a new airlock system to allow the pods to move between the 500 m (1,600 ft) evacuated tube and normal air pressure, as well as the electric motor, controls and power electronics, magnetic levitation and guidance, and pod suspension systems. The end goal is to develop a transportation system capable of carrying passengers and freight through a system of tubes at airline speeds across continental distances.

The prototype travel pod being loaded into the test cylinder
The prototype travel pod being loaded into the test cylinder

In addition to the speed record, the company confirmed the rumors that Sir Richard Branson had been named non-executive Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One. The founder of Virgin Group, Sir Richard's Chairmanship comes on the heels of the Group's investment in the company and his joining Hyperloop One's board of directors in October 2017. Since then, the company has rebranded itself as Virgin Hyperloop One.

In further revelations, Virgin Hyperloop One announced that Caspian Venture Capital and DP World have invested an additional US$50 million in the enterprise.

"I am excited by the latest developments at Virgin Hyperloop One and delighted to be its new Chairman" says Sir Richard. "The recent investment by our partners Caspian Venture Capital and DP World sets up the company to pursue opportunities in key markets in the Middle East, Europe, and Russia as it develops game changing and innovative passenger and cargo ground transport systems."

Check out video of the record-breaking run below.

Source: Virgin Hyperloop One

Virgin Hyperloop One

6 comments
JimFox
Kudos to those investing in this tech. Initially I dismissed it out of hand and basically still doubt it's practicality. As a cargo carrier- maybe but passengers? Very doubtful... who wants to sit in a tube for hours with no exterior view except perhaps by video? IF it ever goes supersonic then I'll review my opinion.
VincentWolf
Even with electronic windows many are going to be claustrophobic about riding these things. Make for some interesting Hollywood movies though.
SteveO
@JimFox/VincentWolf, You wouldn't want actual windows at ground level as the speed perception would be extreme and challenging to mentally process for many people. At high altitudes, speed becomes more surreal. They could show the outside world, slowed down, via camera and video screen "windows".
Craig Jennings
Is speed the lure here or is it more efficient? Bit of both would be good I guess :)
Helios
Current maglev trains average upwards of 260mph. Now they have dropped the promise of supersonic speeds and are trying to sell it as airline speeds? Whats the benefit then?
Username
Hyperloop one as deviated quite drastically from the original concept. They augmented the vacuum, and switched to maglev. I hope others working on the concept stay true to Musk's concept.