Richard Branson, the entrepreneur who has changed the travel industry with trains, planes and spacecraft, has just invested in a company developing high-speed travel in a tube.
This futuristic science fiction-like travel is being designed by
Hyperloop One, which started in a Los Angeles garage with a business model outlined on a white board by co-founders
Josh Giegel and
This privately-held company wants to reinvent transportation by loading people and cargo into a Hyperloop vehicle and then accelerate gradually using electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube. The vehicle floats above a track using magnetic levitation and moves at airline speeds. Hyperloop One tunnels will weave underground and be fully autonomous. It will feel like being in an airplane or elevator.
Last Friday, the company announced heavyweight Branson is forming a partnership with Hyperloop One, investing an undisclosed amount of money and joining its board of directors. Over the next few months the company's name will change to Virgin Hyperloop One.
"Ever since our creation, Virgin has been known for disruption and investing in innovative companies," wrote Branson on his blog. "From our airplanes to our trains to our spaceline, we have long been passionate about innovation in transport too, especially the development of technology that could transform people's lives. This is just the latest example."
Travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco would be 30 minutes; or between Edinburgh and London, 50 minutes.
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