In November 2020, Virgin Hyperloop’s Pegasus pod made history when its first passengers successfully completed a trial run at the 500-meter-long DevLoop test site in Las Vegas. Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and Kilo Design, Virgin Hyperloop’s Pegasus, or ‘XP-2’, is an autonomous transportation system created for hyperloop travel at speeds of over 1,000 kilometers per hour — the fastest land-based means of travel yet. The Pegasus pod prototype was only created to seat two; however, the production vehicle will be larger and seat up to 28 passengers.
Launched after more than a year of close collaboration, the Virgin Hyperloop’s successful first passenger trial follows 400-plus tests in unoccupied pods. The industry-recognized Independent Safety Assessor (ISA) Certifier oversaw Pegasus’ historic demonstration as it works to become the first manned and fully functional Hyperloop system. The successful trial comes shortly after Virgin Hyperloop’s announcement to make West Virginia the location for the Hyperloop Certification Center (HCC), which will also be designed by BIG.
BIG and Kilo Design were brought on to not only design the two-seat Pegasus pod but to also define the design language for all future Virgin Hyperloop vehicles. Because Hyperloop travel is conducted in a near-vacuum environment, the designers crafted Pegasus as a sleek pressurized vessel that, instead of emphasizing aerodynamic features, placed a greater focus on occupant safety and comfort within its custom, 6-square-meter interior. Safety equipment, controls and lighting are seamlessly integrated into the seating elements, which can also be quickly assembled and disassembled as needed.
“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,” BIG explained. “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.”
Images via Virgin Hyperloop