Virgin Hyperloop rockets first passengers at 100mph in levitating pod – and could soon go SIX times faster

TWO people have become the world's first passengers to ride a futuristic high-speed transport system known as a hyperloop.

Developed by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Hyperloop, the technology uses high-powered electromagnets to push levitating pods through a tube at up to 670mph (1,000kph).

On Sunday, the company announced that two staff members had ridden a capsule at a test site in the Nevada desert for the first time.

Chief technology officer Josh Giegel and Sara Luchian, director of customer experience, hit speeds of 107mph (170kph) on a 1,600ft (500m) test track.

Speaking to BBC News, Sara described the ride as "exhilarating both psychologically and physically".

It marks a huge milestone for Virgin Hyperloop and Sir Richard, who hopes to have a Hyperloop operating between Dubai and Abu Dhabi soon.

"For the past few years, the Virgin Hyperloop team has been working on turning its ground breaking technology into reality," said Sir Richard.

"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."

Los Angeles-based Hyperloop envisions a future where floating pods packed with passengers and cargo hurtle through vacuum tubes at 600 miles an hour (966 kph) or faster.

In a hyperloop system, which uses magnetic levitation to allow near-silent travel, a trip between New York and Washington would take just 30 minutes. You could get from London to Edinburgh in 45 minutes.

That would be twice as fast as a commercial jet flight and four times faster than a high-speed train.

The company has previously run over 400 tests without human passengers at the Nevada site.

Hyperloop is working toward safety certification by 2025 and commercial operations by 2030, it has said.

Canada's Transpod and Spain's Zeleros also aim to upend traditional passenger and freight networks with similar technology.

First proposed by billionaire Elon Musk, hyperloop technology promises to slash travel times and congestion.

The systems are also said to be better for the environment as they produce less greenhouse gases than cars and trains.

However, concerns have dogged developers about just how safe the technology would be.

One researcher at Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology, argued that the high speeds involved could turn the Hyperloop into a "barf ride."

In other news, you can find everything you need to know about Hyperloop tech here.

Check out this mind-boggling footage of a Hyperloop pod hitting 200 miles per hour.

And, from AI in human brains to living on Mars, here's how Elon Musk’s extraordinary ideas are changing the future.

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