What is Virgin Hyperloop?
Virgin Hyperloop a private company that is very close to bringing futuristically advanced modes of transportation to us. The company is currently working on making hyperloop effective and sustainable. And it has done major progress in it as well. Virgin Hyperloop successfully tested passengers in the hyperloop’s test route.
Virgin Hyperloop believes that this hyperloop technology can currently achieve a speed of 1080 km/hr. That will be the fastest mode of transportation and can connect cities like metros. For a better passenger experience, the company uses supersonic speed, which will make passengers safe and relaxed.
The first two passengers riding Virgin’s Hyperloop share their experience
On November 8, 2020, Josh Giegel CTO and Co-Founder, and Sara Luchain, Director of Passenger Experience, became the first humans to ride a supersonic hyperloop. Both the passengers were the company staff and traveled a distance of 500m test track. The distance was achieved just in 15 seconds going as high as 172 km/ hr.
After the ride, Sara Luchan says that she found the ride very exhilarating both psychologically and physically to the BBC. She further adds, that neither she nor Josh felt unwell after the ride. Although the highest speed recorded was only 172 km/hour, the company believes that the speed was highly affected by the distance and the time it required to gain the acceleration.
Josh Geigel, Chief Technology Officer, and Co-Founder of Virgin Hyperloop see this ride as one big giant leap towards the ultimate dream that everyone in the team looks for.
Jay Walder, the CEO of Virgin Hyperloop tells that the successful test of the hyperloop technology cleared one of the significant queries he receives which is about the safety of the 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,” after the test was completed.
Companies and Ideas behind Virgin’s Hyperloop
Back in 2013, when US-based entrepreneur Elon Musk– founder of Tesla, SpaceX, and PayPal proposed his idea of connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco through supersonic hyperloop transport, some critics even thought that was crazy and science fiction.
In 2014, after a year Virgin Hyperloop was formed. The company received funds from Virgin Group in 2017. Today the company has many partners around the globe and they claim to be working with the highest level of government across the world.
One of the major investors for Virgin Hyperloop is DP World. Today, DP World is one of the leading enablers of global trade that believes in the potential sustainable-hyperloop enabled cargo-systems. In collaboration with DP World and Hyperloop, innovation was born – DP World Cargospeed. The technology transfers cargo in a pod through a hyperloop just as it would transfer people. DP World Cargospeed can transfer objects at a very high speed.
Virgin Hyperloop in UAE
Back in 2017, when Virgin Hyperloop opened its offices in Dubai, that was its first international office. Since the government of Dubai has a stronghold on political and economic control of the nation, Technology Innovation Institute (TII) agreed to collaborate with the company to advance the future of transportation in Dubai.
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, also talks about how the collaboration of Virgin Hyperloop and TII helps Dubai to be the better place for research hubs.
“The collaboration between Technology Innovation Institute and Virgin Hyperloop will strengthen the position of the United Arab Emirates as a global research hub. We are one step closer to ushering in a new era of ultra-fast, sustainable movement of people and goods,” he tweets.
Virgin Hyperloop tweets that, once the project gets completed, the Hyperloop system in the Middle East could move 45 million passengers per year with the power of the Sun only.
The technology can connect all the Gulf cities in the Middle East within an hour going as high as 1000km/hr. The roof of the hyperloop in the UAE will be covered by solar panels which gives the system the power to run smoothly. Also, since the energy is directly powered by the Sun, there will be no carbon emission in the environment.
How does it work?
An animated video explains how the Hyperloop works:-
When Elon Musk published a 58 pages White paper on his SpaceX website, that included all the details and mechanism of how the hyperloop system works and can be constructed. He named the project Hyperloop Alpha. Since he wasn’t so free to build the system, Elon made it free for anyone interested to develop the Hyperloop systems.
The Hyperloop mechanism exceeds the speed of any transportations means either in air or ground. With the help of innovative technologies, the hyperloop reduces friction in both air and ground that helps to achieve more speed. Currently, both the high-speed trains and aircraft are affected by the frictions.
To be able to go 700mph is a tremendous step in the context of transportations and it needs a decade of hard work to achieve. Initially, a vacuum-like tube is created (not completely vacuum) from where 99% of air is extracted. After that, different pods carry passengers inserted inside the tube. The pod floats on the vacuum and levitates above the ground.
Now there are electromagnetic motors that are laid flat across the floor of the tunnel. The motors help to accelerate the pods when a current is fed through the track. Once the current is released, the magnets guide the pods throughout the tube. In between the places, the air is sucked out to reduce friction. However, the cabin of the pods will be pressurized similar to the airplane’s cabin. Whereas, the tunnel will have less atmosphere as similar to being 20,000 feet above sea level.
Multiple projects like Virgin Hyperloop are being constructed. However, the Virgin Hyperloop has made progress on a larger scale. Similar to Virgin Hyperloop, another US-based company Hyperloop Transport Technologies is also working on constructing hyperloop stations. The company also has made impressive progress in countries like Eastern Europe, India, and South Korea.
When Can we expect the hyperloop service?
Quite similar to the hyperloop services, the Chinese Maglev Train also recorded a speed of 620 km/hr recently in January 2021.
However, in the case of hyperloop services, projects are running worldwide and Virgin receives quite an amount of support to complete the project. Currently, the company is making progress in 11 different cities across the globe. Including three cities in India – Maharashtra, Delhi, and Punjab.
Also, the two projects are going in the Middle East- Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Virgin Hyperloop says that they are working with the highest level of government to bring the hyperloop services to the world as soon as possible. It aims to achieve safety certification by 2025, with commercial operations beginning as soon as 2030.
Also, the best thing about Virgin Hyperloop Service is that it is fully electronic. The hyperloop won’t emit any kind of toxic materials in the atmosphere and is carbon neutral. This is a big step towards saving the earth as well as saving time.
Images: Virgin Hyperloop