Here’s a First Look at Virgin Hyperloop, a High-speed Pod That Could Travel From San Francisco to L.A. In 45 Minutes

Travelers, get ready for a glimpse of the future!

Virgin Group — the travel-focused company owned by Sir Richard Branson — has officially unveiled a vision of what they believe the Virgin Hyperloop will look like for passengers, recently releasing a concept video (above) and images. 

The Virgin Hyperloop is a high-speed form of mass transportation that the company has been working on for several years, promising to cut down hours-long trips between major cities to mere minutes. (For example, a trip from San Francisco to L.A. would take 45 minutes.)

As seen in the concept photos, which were first released in Architectural Digest, and video, passengers will first arrive at a Hyperloop "portal" — think of it like a futuristic bus or train station — before boarding the pod they will travel in. Each pod seats up to 28 people, and is capable of traveling at more than 621 mph through a low-pressure tube using magnetic levitation.

The company aimed to design pods that felt safe and familiar to passengers, while still providing a fresh and new experience. Filled with bright, adjustable light, wood accents, recessed seat wells and even greenery, the pods will come equipped with screens that let passengers know how fast they are traveling, and how long it will take to get to their destination. 

While the cost per ticket has not yet been determined, the company believes it will be similar to the price of driving to the destination, and less than an airplane ticket.

"Designing a new mode of transportation from scratch is both an opportunity and a responsibility," said Sara Luchian, Virgin Hyperloop's director of passenger experience in a press release. "Hyperloop technology — and what it enables — is paradigm-shifting. It follows that the passenger experience should be nothing short of extraordinary."

"We leveraged decades of experience designing how people and things move across various modalities, taking some of the best aspects from aviation, rail, automotive, and even hospitality to create a new and better passenger experience that is distinct to Virgin Hyperloop," added John Barratt, CEO and president of Teague, the company that designed the pods. 

According to the press release, the Hyperloop plans to receive safety certification by 2025, and hopes to have "commercial operations, such as those depicted in this video, beginning in 2030."  

In November, the company tested its high-speed technology with humans on board for the first time, sending two people hurtling through the tubes at more than 100 mph.

"For the past few years, the Virgin Hyperloop team has been working on turning its groundbreaking technology into reality," Branson said in a statement at the time. "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."

And Virgin isn't the only company working on a super-fast train — Dutch company Hardt Hyperloop is looking to build a low-energy train capable of bringing passengers from Paris to Amsterdam in about 90 minutes. 

Currently, Japan's Shinkansen — or bullet trains — use magnetic levitation to reach speeds of about 200 mph.

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