Virgin Hyperloop, one of the entities currently developing Elon Musk’s high-speed transportation idea from 2013, has released a new concept video showing off its vision for the future of moving around a city. And it all looks pretty damn cool to us. The only question is whether Virgin can make it a reality anytime soon.
The video, which is available on YouTube, shows sleek white terminals straight out of midcentury sci-fi, where people can board Virgin Hyperloop vehicles. The video also has staff who look like they’d be right at home on Virgin’s airlines around the world, a detail that’s probably no accident.
The interior of the hyperloop cars also look somewhat like an aeroplane experience, though certainly with more legroom than you’d be able to find here in the early 21st century. The passengers have wireless charging stations for their phones and everyone looks to be enjoying themselves, as you’d probably expect.
The concept video shows several pods departing and apparently a top speed of 1,078 km per hour, something achieved without passengers needing to be strapped in with any high-tech restraint devices. Virgin’s first passenger test back in November looked much more secure, for whatever it’s worth. But we can’t be too picky about reality. This is just a concept video in a long tradition of fantastical high-tech concept videos, after all.
We never learn the name of the city where these fictional people might be travelling, but wherever it is, we’ll take it. This future certainly looks much more pleasant than the year 2021 in almost every regard.
When will any of this become a reality? That part is still very much up the air, especially since the first passenger test Virgin showed the world in November reached a top speed of just over 161 km per hour. It’s going to be quite a climb to get to 600.
And as we’ve discussed many times, the hardest part of the hyperloop concept isn’t the basic technology, it’s the hurdles that must be overcome in terms of land rights and government oversight. That’s why underground tunnels or even tunnels under the ocean might make more sense than trying to achieve your right-of-way above ground, neither of which actually cut any red tape when dealing with state and local government.
But the video does make a nod to the right-of-way problem, with some hyperloop pods arriving off an unnamed coast to their final destinations, seemingly underwater.
One way we know this video has to take place in the distant future? No one is wearing a mask. Vaccines are being delivered, and the covid-19 pandemic should hopefully ease in any number of ways over the next 6-12 months. But some people are already predicting that masks will be with us for some time to come.
While we’ll keep a health scepticism about whether this can be accomplished anytime soon, we’re happy Virgin Hyperloop is at least making some escapist entertainment in line with concept videos from decades past. The future can’t get here soon enough.