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Richard Branson invests in transportation startup Hyperloop One

By Sara Shayanian
Richard Branson has invested in Hyperloop One and become a member of the board of directors. The name of the transportation startup was changed to Virgin Hyperloop One. File Photo by Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA
Richard Branson has invested in Hyperloop One and become a member of the board of directors. The name of the transportation startup was changed to Virgin Hyperloop One. File Photo by Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Richard Branson and his Virgin Group have invested in the Los Angeles-based tube transportation Hyperloop One.

The startup, which intends to create an ultrafast tube transportation system, was named Virgin Hyperloop One after the announcement of the strategic partnership that allows Branson to join the board of directors.

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In a statement released by Virgin on Thursday and credited to Branson, the entrepreneur noted that the new Virgin Hyperloop One could bring airline speeds to the ground.

"Passengers and cargo will be loaded into a pod, and accelerate gradually via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube," Branson said. "The pod quickly lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag."

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Branson said the partnership will focus on ensuring the project is all-electric and a responsible, sustainable form of transportation.

"We're incredibly excited about the technology behind Virgin Hyperloop One and the way it could transform passengers' lives," he said.

The Hyperloop technology is currently in the early stages of commercialization after a successful first full-scale systems test was conducted. As an example of the high-speed transportation offered by Hyperloop, the project expects the travel time from Edinburgh to London to be 50 minutes.

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Theoretically, the speeds could reach up to 700 miles per hour.

Other people have also worked on the concept as well, such as Elon Musk, who said he was given permission by the U.S. government in July to proceed with plans to build a high-speed Hyperloop train from New York to Washington, D.C.

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