Virgin, the company founded by Richard Branson as a music label turned successful airline, is now testing prototypes for the future of transportation. The Hyperloop was first envisioned by Elon Musk; Musk gave all the plans and details he knows about the technology away, for anyone to use. The hope: someone takes that idea and creates something great.
There are many companies building and researching the Hyperloop concept, but Virgin just had a successful test of a full-scale prototype using their Vision 2030 Hyperloop Pod. The test was performed for the Crown Prince and Minister of Defense of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.
Salman bin Abdulaziz, a potential customer, seems positive about using the technology in Saudi Arabia as part of his $500 billion “Vision 2030” plan. “Hyperloop is the catalyst to enable all 4th-generation technologies to flourish in the Kingdom, while creating a vibrant society and thriving economy through visionary cities and high-tech clusters,” he said in a statement.
Virgin Hyperloop One claims their finished product will be two to three times faster than high-speed rail. They provided some example times between destinations in Saudi Arabia:
Traveling from Riyadh to Jeddah would take 76 minutes (currently over 10 hours) utilizing the land bridge for both passenger and freight movement, positioning KSA as the gateway to three continents. Traveling from Riyadh to Abu Dhabi would take 48 minutes (currently over 8.5 hours).
There are still a lot of skeptics on the technology, running a super- fast train through a vacuum tunnel. There are – as anyone could guess – a lot of probable safety risks, but the same could be said about flying.
Check out the video of Virgin’s test below along with a video talking more about Hyperloop technology.