Skip to main content

Watch Virgin Hyperloop’s explainer about its high-speed travel service

Virgin Hyperloop has just dropped a new video telling us all about its proposed ultra-high-speed transportation service, which it insists will “set the standard for 21st-century travel.”

Virgin Hyperloop Explained

The two-and-a-half-minute presentation blends images of the expected passenger experience with a raft of technology insights explaining how the whole thing works.

If Virgin Hyperloop gets to commercialize the technology and fulfill its dream of building ultra-high-speed routes connecting cities around the world, then a trip between, say, Los Angeles and San Francisco would take just 30 minutes instead of the usual six hours by car. Perfect if you like getting around quickly and hate flying.

It was Musk that really put the focus on the hyperloop project when he started talking about the idea in 2012. That was followed up a short while later by a 57-page white paper outlining some of the proposed technology behind it.

Musk spoke of a superfast transportation service designed to propel passenger-filled capsules at airplane speeds through a vacuum environment. But busy with Tesla and SpaceX, Musk passed the hyperloop project to others, though he continues to champion the idea.

In 2017, along came Richard Branson (yes, that’s the same guy who also founded Virgin Galactic and recently flew to the edge of space aboard a rocket plane), whose Musk-like belief in the project led to the creation of Virgin Hyperloop.

Following years of work and hundreds of tests, Virgin Hyperloop conducted the first test run of its technology using human passengers in November 2020. Josh Giegel, the company’s co-founder and CEO, and Sara Luchian, director of Virgin Hyperloop’s passenger experience, reached a speed of 107 mph (172 kph) at Virgin Hyperloop’s DevLoop test site in Las Vegas. While the speed was much slower than the planned 760 mph (1,223 kph) that the capsule will one day potentially travel, the test run showed the technology is now safe enough to carry human passengers.

Virgin Hyperloop is convinced that following its run of successful tests, it can now start to make serious efforts to plan for hyperloop services around the world.

“We’ve proven the technology at our DevLoop test site, and now we’re bringing it to the world — working with visionary governments and partners who understand the transformative power this technology has to deliver unprecedented connectivity and opportunity,” the company said recently.

Despite the upbeat talk, it’s still unclear when anyone might be climbing aboard a hyperloop capsule as part of a regular commercial service, though we’ll be sure to keep you posted of developments.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Chocolate mousse in space is more important than you think
Astronaut Andreas Mogensen with his chocolate mousse aboard the space station.

Astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) keep a busy schedule during their six-month stints in orbit. Most of their time is taken up with carrying out scientific research in the unique microgravity conditions that the facility provides, while the occasional spacewalk takes care of upgrades and general maintenance.

The research programs include learning about the best way to grow crops off-Earth and aboard the relatively cramped conditions of the orbital facility, an especially important task if we’re ever to send astronauts on long-duration missions to a lunar base or even to Mars.

Read more
No more GPUs? Here’s what Nvidia’s DLSS 10 could look like
RTX 4070 logo on a graphics card.

The latest version of Nvidia's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) is already a major selling point for some of its best graphics cards, but Nvidia has much bigger plans. According to Bryan Catanzaro, Nvidia's vice president of Applied Deep Learning Research, Nvidia imagines that DLSS 10 would have full neural rendering, bypassing the need for graphics cards to actually render a frame.

During a roundtable discussion hosted by Digital Foundry, Catanzaro delved deeper into what DLSS could evolve into in the future, and what kinds of problems machine learning might be able to tackle in games. We already have DLSS 3, which is capable of generating entire frames -- a huge step up from DLSS 2, which could only generate pixels. Now, Catanzaro said with confidence that the future of gaming lies in neural rendering.

Read more
Spotify using AI to clone and translate podcasters’ voices
spotify app available in windows 10 store

Spotify has unveiled a remarkable new feature powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that translates a podcast into multiple languages using the same voices of those in the show.

It’s been made possible partly by OpenAI’s just-released voice generation technology that needs only a few seconds of listening to replicate a voice.

Read more