Virgin Hyperloop One, previously known as Hyperloop One before they secured a new investment from Richard Branson’s Virgin, is still pushing to bring its hyperloop system to market and they released a full-scale working pod prototype in their test tube track.
Last year, the company claimed that they achieved a test speed record “of nearly 387 kilometers per hour” (240 miles per hour, 107 meters per second) at their full-scale test track in Nevada.
But they have now developed a new ‘Vision 2030 Hyperloop Pod’, which they unveiled this week with Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince and Minister of Defense of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during his visit to Virgin Galactic test site in the Mojave desert.
The Crown Prince commented:
“We’re look forward to advancing the relationship between KSA and VHO while we develop innovative transport technologies like hyperloop, accelerating Vision 2030 objectives to transform the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from a technology consumer to a technology innovator. “Hyperloop is the catalyst to enable all 4th generation technologies to flourish in the Kingdom while creating a vibrant society and thriving economy through visionary cities and high-tech clusters.”
They put the new pod to the test inside their tube track:
It’s fun to see them make progress on a full-scale system. We might literally be witnessing the start of a brand new mode of transportation.
In this case, it looked like a demonstration specifically for the Crown Prince in order to try to convince him to greenlight a hyperloop project in Saudi Arabia.
The company boasted about some potential travel times between major cities in the region:
“With speeds 2-3 times faster than high-speed rail and an on-demand, direct to destination experience, hyperloop technology can reduce journey times across the kingdom, exponentially increasing connectivity across not only across KSA but throughout the GCC. Traveling from Riyadh to Jeddah would take 76 minutes (currently over 10 hours) utilizing the land bridge for both passenger and freight movement, positioning KSA as the gateway to 3 continents. Traveling from Riyadh to Abu Dhabi would take 48 minutes (currently over 8.5 hours).”
Mohammad bin Salman is known for being somewhat progressive at least for when it comes to Saudi Arabia and he is implementing a plan to diversify the kingdom’s economy in a sustainable future with non-oil projects.
His plan is called “Vision 2030” and it is backed by $500 billion.
Now it looks like a hyperloop system might be part of the plan.