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Virgin Hyperloop One sees billionaire Branson back Elon Musk's tech

13 October 2017
Virgin Hyperloop One sees billionaire Branson back Elon Musk's tech

Hyperloop trains work by loading passengers and cargo on to a pod which is accelerated to speeds of nearly 700mph inside a sealed low-pressure tube using electric propulsion.

Building a futuristic hyperloop system won't be cheap, so startup Hyperloop One's surely feeling good today, after it announced billionaire Richard Branson had made an investment in its endeavor.

Multiple startups took up the challenge, including Hyperloop One, cofounded by Musk's friend Shervin Pishevar.

The levitating, pod-based form of transport was suggested by Elon Musk in 2013, and Hyperloop One achieved speeds of 310km/h in a July test.

The pod quickly lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag.

"After visiting Hyperloop One's test site in Nevada and meeting its leadership team this past summer, I am convinced this groundbreaking technology will change transportation as we know it and dramatically cut journey times", said Branson. The air-tight tubes need to be closer to true vacuum, the maglev acceleration needs to increase which will require more power, and protecting hyperloop tracks from environmental factors such as earthquakes is still a major concern.

"Virgin has been known for investing in and creating innovative companies over the years, and I look forward to making history together as we bring Hyperloop to the world as Virgin Hyperloop One".

As a result, projected journey times in the United Kingdom include Edinburgh to London in 50 minutes.

Theoretically, the speeds could reach up to 700 miles per hour. "We have always been passionate about innovation in transport too, especially the development of technology that could transform people's lives", the statement reads.

"This is just the latest example".

The money isn't the only connection between Hyperloop One and Virgin; the Hyperloop company's President of Engineering Josh Giegel is a former Virgin employee.