Two passengers have hurtled along a vacuum tube in a Hyperloop pod in a test of a technology that could change rail transport forever.
Hyperloop is a planned transport system using passenger pods travelling through vacuum tubes at breakneck speeds of 500mph and above.
The test took place at Virgin Hyperloop’s 500-metre-long DevLoop test site in the Nevada desert outside Las Vegas, where the company has previously run over 400 unoccupied tests.
Read more: Virgin could build first hyperloop in India
Two Virgin employees travelled along the test track in 15 seconds at 107mph, the company said, adding that it hopes one day to transport passengers at over 620mph.
The test vehicle has made more than 400 journeys, but co-founder and chief technology officer Josh Giegel and director of passenger experience Sara Luchian were its first human passengers.
Giegel said: “When we started in a garage over six years ago, the goal was simple – to transform the way people move.
“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.”
Several companies are developing vehicles based on the technology, including Foster + Partners, which aims to develop cargo trains.
Hyperloop One has shortlisted routes in the UK, including Cardiff to Glasgow in 89 minutes.
The production vehicle will seat up to 28 passengers, but the demonstration model, known as XP-2 seats two.
Virgin Hyperloop said it was the only company that had tested hyperloop technology at scale so far.
Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, said: “For the past few years, the Virgin Hyperloop team has been working on turning its ground-breaking technology into reality.
“With today’s successful test, we have shown that this spirit of innovation will in fact change the way people everywhere live, work and travel in the years to come. It is a great achievement by the team and our partners at DP World.”
“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.”