Virgin Hyperloop
Hyperloop features a vacuum-tube system to propel passengers and cargo at speeds that would shape the next generation of public transport. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: The first live tests on a 'hyperloop' transportation with passengers on board has been completed. Virgin Hyperloop, in which Dubai's DP World is a major shareholder, did the passenger-on-board test at its Nevada base.

Hyperloop is dubbed as the next phase of public transportation and could, conceivably, allow travel between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in a matter of minutes. Speeds reach up to 1,000 kilometres per hour.

The test took place at Virgin Hyperloop’s 500-meter DevLoop test site in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the company has previously run over 400 unoccupied tests.

“I had the true pleasure of seeing history being made before my very eyes – to witness the first new mode of mass transportation in over 100 years come to life,” said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop and Group Chairman and CEO of DP World. “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.”

Green signal

This historic testing milestone, combined with the advancements at the Hyperloop Certification Center, will pave the way for the certification of hyperloop systems around the world. These are the first steps towards commercial launches in Saudi Arabia and ͵羺.

We wanted to be involved in the potential this mode of mass transportation presents, to connect markets and economies, keep trade flowing and help build the global economy’s next phase

- Sultan Bin Sulayem of DP World

New beginnings

The occupants made their voyage on the new XP-2 vehicle, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group. While the production vehicle will be larger and seat up to 28 passengers, the two-seater XP-2 test vehicle was built to demonstrate that passengers can in fact travel in a hyperloop vehicle.

According to Josh Giegel, co-founder of Virgin Hyperloop, “Today, we took one giant leap toward that ultimate dream, not only for me, but for all of us who are looking towards a moonshot right here on Earth.”

The testing campaign, from the beginning stages all the way through to the demonstration, was overseen by Independent Safety Assessor (ISA) Certifer. “I can’t tell you how often I get asked ‘Is hyperloop safe?’,” said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop. “With today’s passenger 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.”

Virgin Hyperloop
The first 'passengers' to go for a spin on a hyperloop. The trials were run at the Virgin Hyperloop base in Nevada. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive