UAE-backed Virgin Hyperloop tests high-speed pod with passengers

DP World CEO attends 'historic' testing

  
With investment from Dubai based DP World, Virgin Hyperloop makes history today as the first passengers successfully traveled in a Hyperloop pod. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle. Image used for illustrative purpose.

With investment from Dubai based DP World, Virgin Hyperloop makes history today as the first passengers successfully traveled in a Hyperloop pod. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Virgin Hyperloop on Monday tested its high-speed transportation system with human passengers for the first time.

Josh Giegel, Hyperloop CIO and co-founder, and Sara Luchian, the firm’s director of passenger experience, rode the high-speed pod across a 500-meter distance at the DevLoop test site in the desert of Las Vegas, Nevada, with the trip lasting for 15 seconds, a spokesperson told Zawya.

The event was witnessed by Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman of Virgin Hyperloop and group chairman and CEO of DP World. The Dubai-based global logistics solutions provider has made a multi-million-dollar investment for the research and development of hyperloop technology.

In a statement, Virgin Hyperloop said the test ride brings the ultra-fast transportation system “one step closer to realisation in the Middle East”.

“The historic testing milestone,  combined with the advancements at the Hyperloop Certification Centre, will pave the way for the certification of hyperloop systems around the world – a key step towards commercial projects, including those in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates,” the firm said.

In August 2016, DP World entered into an agreement with Hyperloop to undertake an economic and technical feasibility study on how the high-speed technology can improve the efficiency, profitability and sustainability of DP World’s flagship Jebel Ali port.

The study was meant to assess the business case for using hyperloop technology to move freight from container ships docked in Jebel Ali to a planned DP World inland container depot.

Safe system

Sulayem remarked about today’s test ride, citing that he had just witnessed “history made” before his very eyes.

“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 Sulayem.

“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,” he added.

About the test

The first hyperloop passengers made their maiden voyage on a newly unveiled custom-built vehicle called XP-2, which was designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels’s company.

However, it won’t be the actual pod to be deployed in the UAE, if the plan pushes through. Hyperloop said the production vehicle will be larger and can seat up to 28 passengers, adding that the unit used in today’s test was built only to demonstrate that passengers can in fact safely travel in a hyperloop vehicle.

“I can’t tell you how often I get asked ‘is hyperloop safe? With today’s 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,” said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop.

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

Cleofe.maceda@refinitiv.com 

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© ZAWYA 2020

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