New US council set up to support the commercialisation of hyperloop

The US government has announced a new council that will support the commercialisation of hyperloop technology in coming years and months.

Hyperloop will revolutionise train travel, and is launching the first new mode of mass transportation in over 100 years. With Virgin Hyperloop One, passengers and cargo will be loaded into a pod, and accelerate gradually via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube. The pod quickly lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances.

US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced that the council will work to identify and resolve any gaps which will help to make hyperloop commercially viable. Virgin Hyperloop One has been engaged with the Department of Transport and Secretary Chao for months, taking the necessary steps to commercialise this technology in the US. They will continue working with the Department of Transport to make hyperloop a reality in the US.

Richard Branson thanked Secretary Chao for setting up the new council. “Virgin Hyperloop One is eager to continue working with the Secretary and her team. Through our recent conversations it is clear she wants to be at the forefront of exploring innovative technologies to improve transportation in the United States.”

Secretary Chao is committed to enabling innovation. Speaking to journalist Steffi Lee, in an article for Kxan, she said Hyperloop represents new ideas in transportation. "These ideas have matured into physical prototypes and project proposals," she said. "Inventors, investors and stakeholders are ready to build out these technologies and yet too often, when they come to the department to obtain the necessary safety authorizations, permits and in some cases, funding, they don't know which part of the department they need to deal with."

As hyperloop is a new mode of mass transportation, it requires a forward-thinking consortium to bring this to commercialisation. Some components are similar to rail while others include components like cabin pressurisation that actually look more similar to a plane. The council will explore how to integrate expertise across the Department to expedite or facilitate these projects moving forward.

“Hyperloop is a new mode of transportation that is built for the 21st century,” said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One. “We want to be the company that spearheads the next giant leap forward in transportation here in the United States but we know we can’t do it alone. We applaud the Department of Transport for their support of this technology.”

Secretary Chao added: “New technologies increasingly straddle more than one mode of transportation, so I’ve signed an order creating a new internal Department council to better coordinate the review of innovations that have multi-modal applications.”

Find out more on the Virgin Hyperloop One website.

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