Virgin Hyperloop, which is working on a proposed Mumbai-Pune hyperloop project in India, said on Monday that people had successfully travelled in the hyperloop pod at their test facility in the US for the first time.
A Virigin release said that with the first passengers travelling safely, the next ride will be conducted in Pune. Hyperloop is a new mode of ultra-fast mass transportation solution that transports people and cargo through a pod in a vacuum environment.
Human testing in the United States brings hyperloop projects in India one step closer to reality, the company said. In India, the Maharashtra government has deemed hyperloop a public infrastructure project and approved the Virgin Hyperloop-DP World Consortium as the original project proponent for the Mumbai-Pune hyperloop project. Virgin Hyperloop said it was looking to work with central authorities in India to explore a regulatory path for hyperloop in the country.
“Today’s test is a significant step forward towards a commercial hyperloop in India — perhaps the world’s first — connecting Pune with Mumbai along the existing expressway,” Harj Dhaliwal, MD of Middle East and India for Virgin Hyperloop, said. “The opportunity for India to lead the world in this new form of transportation is unprecedented. The project would be the largest private infrastructure investment in Maharashtra, creating 1.8 million direct and indirect jobs and $36 billion in socio-economic benefits,” he said.
Last month, Virgin Hyperloop announced a partnership with Bangalore International Airports to conduct a feasibility study for a proposed hyperloop corridor from Bangalore airport. The study, which focuses on technical, economic and route feasibility, is expected to be completed in two phases of six months each. With speeds of up to 1,080 kmph, hyperloop could transport thousands of passengers per hour from the airport to the city centre in under 10 minutes, according to the preliminary analysis.
Virgin Hyperloop has also signed an MoU with Punjab’s transport department in December 2019 to expand their relationship with the state to explore opportunities in northern India.
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said with this successful test, they have shown that this innovation will change the way people everywhere live, work, and travel in the years to come. “For years, the team at Virgin Hyperloop has been working on making the technology a reality,” Branson said.
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman of Virgin Hyperloop and group chairman and CEO of DP World, watched this passenger testing first-hand in Las Vegas, Nevada and said the team at Virgin Hyperloop would transform this technology into a safe system, and get a step closer to ushering in a new era of ultra-fast, sustainable movement of people and goods.
Josh Giegel, co-founder and CTO, and Sara Luchian, director of passenger experience, were the first people in the world to ride on this new form of transportation. The testing campaign will continue with Tanay Manjrekar, Virgin Hyperloop’s power electronics specialist and native of Pune, riding next. The occupants made their maiden voyage on the newly-unveiled two seater XP-2 vehicle. The production vehicle will be larger and seat up to 28 passengers.
Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop said with the passenger testing, they had successfully answered the question of safety and demonstrating that Virgin Hyperloop safely put a person in a pod in a vacuum environment.