Breanna de Vera is dot.LA's editorial intern. She is currently a senior at the University of Southern California, studying journalism and English literature. She previously reported for the campus publications The Daily Trojan and Annenberg Media.
Forty-five minutes in traffic won't get you very far in Los Angeles. But Virgin Hyperloop estimates it will be able to get you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in that time.
The Richard Branson-owned company unveiled its hyperloop concept video Wednesday, just two months after the company's first tested its design with passengers. Traveling several hundred miles per hour in a pressurized tube is no longer a vision of the far-distant future — Virgin Hyperloop engineers want to make it a reality in less than 10 years.
These renderings put it yet another step ahead of The Boring Company, led by Elon Musk, who published his "alpha paper" plans for hyperloop travel in 2013.
Virgin Hyperloop plans to achieve safety certification by 2025 and begin commercial operations in 2030.
"Daily high-speed transport is currently not feasible for most people, but we want to change that notion," said Virgin Hyperloop chief executive Jay Walder in a statement. "Imagine being able to commute between cities that are currently hours apart in minutes – and the endless possibilities that open up."
Virgin Hyperloop Passenger Experience
The almost three-minute video opens with a rendering of the station, a bustling transit center filled with natural light and complemented with indoor and outdoor greenery, a nod at the more efficient and eco-friendly transportation form hyperloop could be. A Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) study last year found that a hyperloop connection between Columbus, Chicago and Pittsburgh could reduce carbon dioxide emission by 2.4 million tons. It suggested making fares closer to the cost of driving than to a pricier plane ticket.
Walder said an affordable ticket would be key to making the concept a success. Virgin Hyperloop estimates its system would be able to transport thousands of passengers per hour by convoying them, as pods are able to ride directly behind each other in the hyperloop, magnetically suspended from touching each other and controlled by the company's machine intelligence software.
The Los Angeles-based company worked with several partners to design disparate aspects of the transportation experience. The video's white-walled portal to enter the pod were designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and the pods themselves were designed by Teague.
SeeThree worked on the video and animations and Man Made Music provided the score and sonic identity — the additional sound assets in the film that audiences will associate with the hyperloop.
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