• Attention passengers: Now boarding The Future of Transportation on Hyperloop’s Pegasus

    10 November 2020

    Designed by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group and Kilo Design, Virgin Hyperloop’s Pegasus pod makes history in the Nevada desert as it successfully carries its first passengers in the newest form of travel in over a century.

    Virgin Hyperloop has partnered with BIG and Kilo to design Pegasus, or ‘XP-2’, a new vehicle typology for an autonomous transportation system to achieve hyperloop travel at the speed of over 1,000km/hour, the fastest form of land-based travel. After over a year of close collaboration, the first passengers trial this new form of transportation at Virgin Hyperloop’s 500m DevLoop test site in Las Vegas, where the company has previously run over 400 tests in un-occupied pods. The demonstration was overseen by the industry-recognized Independent Safety Assessor (ISA) Certifier, and its success marks a historic moment in transportation as Pegasus becomes the first manned and fully functional system for Hyperloop travel.

    “When we started in a garage over 6 years ago, it felt like a distant dream to one day ride in a Hyperloop pod. Today, that dream came true – and not only for me, but for a whole generation who now has a moonshot to look towards right here on Earth. Together with BIG and Kilo, we have worked on a seamless experience that starts the moment you think about being somewhere – not going somewhere. We don’t sell cars, boats, trains, or planes. We sell time.” Josh Giegel, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Virgin Hyperloop.

    With Virgin Hyperloop, we have given form to a mobility ecosystem of pods and portals, where the waiting hall has vanished along with waiting itself. BIG and Kilo’s role in Pegasus was to design for the pod’s first use case while also defining the design language and characteristics for future Virgin Hyperloop vehicles. While the production vehicle will be larger and seat up to 28 passengers, this 2-seater pod was built to demonstrate that passengers can in fact safely travel in a Hyperloop vehicle. Pegasus is conceived as a pressurized vessel designed inside and out as a new and radically different vehicle typology. The design focuses on unifying and covering both the pressure vessel and sled, creating a seamless appearance that combines both performance and human-centered characteristics.

    “Virgin Hyperloop can radically transform the way we travel. The immediacy of an elevator in a modern high-rise combines with the speed and distance of air travel to create an on-demand system that transports passengers at supersonic speed. Virgin Hyperloop with our Pegasus pods changes the experience of moving across a country or even a continent into that of a subway system—one that could eventually cover the entire globe and push global travel into a more sustainable direction. With the successful test, I’m thrilled that Hyperloop travel has reached an important milestone and I look forward to continuing our collaboration and making this new way of traveling a reality for future generations.” Bjarke Ingels, Founder & Creative Director, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

    Since Hyperloop travel exists in a near airless tube, the need for aerodynamics becomes minimal, leading to a sleek design without the need for aerodynamic features. This environment makes the transportation system much more energy efficient than traditional rail transit. It’s engineered with magnetic levitation and avoids the drag of wheels, allowing for the maximum amount of speed to move the maximum number of passengers or cargo. Pegasus pods move individually as well, with a high arrival- and departure-rate allowing for on-demand travel.

    When designing the future of transportation and the slate is sort of blank, the opportunities are endless. We’ve needed to adjust our way of thinking away from the classic modes of transporting like trains, planes and metros, and towards a new vehicle typology, closest to that of a spaceship. Hyperloop allows passengers to get from A to B in a split second, and Pegasus provides the feeling of safety, convenience and a smooth journey.” Jakob Lange, Partner, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

    The front ‘scoops’ of the vessel create natural steps for comfortable entry and egress, and apertures on the sides of the fairing as well as the front door contain a forward-facing window for outward viewing down the tunnel. Altogether, these features create a link to Pegasus’ external design, where repeating soft forms and pill shape cut-outs are used to highlight depth, layers and entryways. Inside, the seating elements and extended arms serve multiple functions including as an entry and egress aid, and as storage for safety equipment, oxygen throughput and lighting. The seats can also be quickly assembled and disassembled for rear equipment access.

    Having undergone a rigorous and exhaustive safety process, Pegasus demonstrates many of the safety-critical systems that will be found on a commercial Hyperloop system and is equipped with a state-of-the-art control system that can detect off-nominal states and rapidly trigger appropriate emergency responses. The 6m2 interior is custom-built with occupant safety and comfort in mind, with the necessary safety equipment and controls built into the furniture.

    This announcement follows significant momentum on the regulatory front, when last month, Virgin Hyperloop unveiled West Virginia as the location for the Hyperloop Certification Center (HCC), designed by BIG. The advancements at the HCC and the historic safety demonstration achieved with this test paves the way for the certification of Hyperloop systems around the world–the future of time and space, warped by Pegasus.

    Pegasus is BIG’s second project on transportation announced this year, since Toyota Woven City was first unveiled in January as an urban incubator dedicated to the advancement of all aspects of mobility.

    Tour Pegasus here: https://big.dk/#projects-pegasus


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