Hyperloop One’s passenger pod takes its first ride
Just weeks after Hyperloop One demonstrated a working, albeit slow, version of its levitating sled, the company has made another leap forward. This time around, the startup has successfully tested its XP-1 passenger pod, reaching speeds of up to 192 mph and levitating off the track as it accelerated.
XP-1 traveled for just over 300 meters before the brakes kicked in and it rolled to a gradual stop, hitting a top speed of 192 mph. That speed puts Hyperloop One’s system a little bit ahead of Category 1 high-speed rail, which has a maximum running speed of 155mph, although it’s not yet faster than Japan’s bullet train.
Then again, Hyperloop One’s plan is to push its pods at speeds closer to 750 mph, but that’s clearly going to be tough to test in a tube that’s just 500 meters long. But the milestones, slow and steady, are being met, and it’s clearly a demonstration of the company’s strength that it is developing its prototypes for real.
As for the XP-1 itself, the company has revealed that the craft measures 8.7 meters long, 2.7 meters tall and 2.4 meters wide. That’s narrower than, for instance, an NYC subway car, by about half a meter — not uncomfortably snug, but not roomy either.
The company has made something of a deal about the sound that the Hyperloop Pod makes as it travels through the tube. It’ll be a familiar sound to anyone who’s used a reasonably new airport transit system or subway, like London’s Jubilee Line.
Doubtless, there will be more tests and more announcements as the weeks roll by, but with each small step, Hyperloop One gets closer to proving the system can work. From there, it’s just a case of convincing investors, regulators and everyone else that it’s worth investing in.