Virgin Hyperloop One sees billionaire Branson back Elon Musk's tech

Hyperloop One founders Josh Giegel and Shervin Pishevar with Richard Branson  
     Virgin Hyperloop One

Building a futuristic hyperloop system won't be cheap, so startup Hyperloop One's surely feeling good today, after it announced billionaire Richard Branson had made an investment in its endeavor.

The entrepreneur has announced an investment in Hyperloop One start-up, the most advanced firm to have taken up Elon Musk's open-sourced tube transportation idea. We're not going to be talking about "Hyperloop One" anymore because the company has a new name. As part of the deal the company will be renamed Virgin Hyperloop One and enter Sir Richard's Virgin Group umbrella.

"This is an incredibly innovative and exciting new way to move people and things at airline speeds on the ground", Branson wrote in a Virgin blog post.

Hyperloop One, which has previously raised more than $160 million, is working to develop a pod system that can travel at up to 750 miles per hour with better safety than passenger jets, and lower build and maintenance costs than high-speed trains. This was presumably created in response to Hyperloop One's successful summer testing, which saw the company actually sending its passenger pod down its test track in the Nevada Desert for the first time. The air-tight tubes need to be closer to true vacuum, the maglev acceleration needs to increase which will require more power, and protecting hyperloop tracks from environmental factors such as earthquakes is still a major concern.

Virgin Group already has a hand in space travel through its Virgin Galactic spaceflight company, and now the group is investing in high-speed transportation.

'Projected journey times in the United Kingdom include Edinburgh to London in 50 minutes'.

Branson said he was "looking forward to helping turn this cutting edge engineering into a global passenger service", he added.

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

Before we can fly through vacuum tubes at almost the speed of sound, however, hyperloop technologies will need to advance quite a bit.

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