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Virgin tests Hyperloop XP-2 with human passengers for 1st time

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A Virgin Hyperloop XP-2 pod is seen on a test track in Las Vegas, Nev., on Sunday, when two executives became the first humans to ride in a pod during a test run. Photo courtesy Sarah Lawson/Virgin Hyperloop
A Virgin Hyperloop XP-2 pod is seen on a test track in Las Vegas, Nev., on Sunday, when two executives became the first humans to ride in a pod during a test run. Photo courtesy Sarah Lawson/Virgin Hyperloop

Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Virgin Hyperloop says it has conducted its first ultra-fast transportation pod using humans, with two of its executives taking the futuristic mode for a spin.

Hyperloop co-founder Josh Giegel and Sara Luchian, director of passenger experience, took the ride and traveled in Virgin's XP-2 vehicle down a 500-meter test track near Las Vegas in just 15 seconds, reaching speeds of about 100 mph, the company said.

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The two-seat pod carrying Giegel and Luchian was a test vehicle to prove the safety of the system. The XP-2 passenger pod, built by the Bjarke Ingels Group and Kilo Design, will seat up to 28 passengers.

"When we started in a garage over six years ago, the goal was simple -- to transform the way people move," Giegel said in a statement. "Today, we took one giant leap toward that ultimate dream, not only for me but for all of us who are looking towards a moonshot right here on Earth."

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The pod had made more than 400 test runs without humans before Giegel and Luchian climbed on board Sunday.

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The Virgin Hyperloop uses electric propulsion and electromagnetic levitation in near-vacuum conditions to propel the pods through a large tube.

"Hyperloop is about so much more than the technology," Luchian added. "It's about what it enables. To me, the passenger experience ties it all together. And what better way to design the future than to actually experience it first-hand?"

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Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson said the test showed that Hyperloop is moving in the right direction.

"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," he said.

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