In Pictures: First passengers take maiden voyage in hyperloop pod to mark testing milestone
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In pictures: First passengers make maiden voyage in hyperloop pod to mark testing milestone

In pictures: First passengers make maiden voyage in hyperloop pod to mark testing milestone

Josh Giegel, co-founder and chief technology officer, and Sara Luchian, director of passenger experience, were the first people to ride

Gulf Business

Two passengers rode on a hyperloop in what was a historic test ride by Virgin Hyperloop on November 9.

The first people to ride this form of transportation were Josh Giegel, the company’s co-founder and chief technology officer, and Sara Luchian, its director of passenger experience.

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

The occupants made their debut voyage on the newly-unveiled XP-2 vehicle, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, custom-built with occupant safety and comfort. Meanwhile, the production vehicle will be larger and seat up to 28 passengers.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman of Virgin Hyperloop and group chairman and CEO of DP World – which has ploughed millions of dollars worth of investment for R&D of the hyperloop technology – watched this passenger testing first-hand.

“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.

He added: “DP World and Dubai are at the forefront of technological innovation in the transport and logistics industry. The world has been changing quickly and 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 to accelerate growth”.

This 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 UAE.

“When we started in a garage over six years ago, the goal was simple – to transform the way people move,” said Giegel.

“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 till the debut ride was overseen by Independent Safety Assessor (ISA) Certifer. The XP-2 vehicle demonstrates many of the safety-critical systems that will be found on a commercial hyperloop system and is equipped with a control system that can detect off-nominal states and rapidly trigger appropriate emergency responses.

“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 continues to be active in the Gulf region, with Saudi Arabia leading with a first-of-its-kind national hyperloop study.

Virgin Hyperloop also announced a partnership with Abu Dhabi’s Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) to support the development of hyperloop technology and sustainable transportation through advanced AI research.

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