Nov 9, 2020 - Economy & Business

Virgin Hyperloop transports first passengers in test run

Image of a man and a woman buckled into Virgin Hyperloop's capsule for test run of high-speed transportation.

Virgin Hyperloop cofounder Josh Giegel and Sara Luchian, director of passenger experience, prepare for their high-speed ride. (Photo courtesy of Virgin Hyperloop)

Virgin Hyperloop carried its first passengers in a high-speed vacuum tube Sunday in a test run that company officials hailed as a major milestone toward commercializing the revolutionary transportation technology.

Why it matters: The test was intended to show that hyperloop travel — using magnetic levitation to whisk small pods through a vacuum tube at speeds of up to 600 miles per hour — is safe for humans. The company says it could one day enable a 45-minute journey from Los Angeles to San Francisco, with no emissions.

Be smart: It will be years, potentially even decades, before the public can take a high-speed trip.

Details: The test guinea pigs were Josh Giegel, co-founder and chief technology officer, and Sara Luchian, director of passenger experience, who seemed no worse for the wear after the journey.

  • Experts have cautioned that traveling at such high speeds could cause motion sickness.
  • Yes, but: The test took place at Virgin Hyperloop’s 500-meter test site in Las Vegas and only got up to about 100 miles per hour before running out of track.
  • The entire journey lasted 15 seconds.

What to watch: More meaningful tests will be possible once a new six-mile hyperloop certification center is up and running in West Virginia.

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