Virgin Hyperloop announced a key step in its long-term goal of making hyperloop transportation a reality in the U.S. on Thursday. The company revealed it will be doing its certification testing at a new West Virginia facility. This will be crucial to the creation of a national safety certification framework for the U.S., which will involve working directly with the U.S. Department of Transportation – a process already underway thanks to the DOT’s issuance of guidance documentation in advance of a framework this past July.
Before now, Virgin Hyperloop has been developing and testing its hyperloop technology at its full-scale proving ground in North Las Vegas. The company created a 500-meter long ‘development loop’ for running its tests, and performed its first full-scale system test in 2017. This new facility will be used specifically for certification, but will involve similar large-scale systems testing and involve ‘thousands’ of new jobs created, according to the company.
Virgin Hyperloop ultimately hopes to fully safety certify its system by 2025, and then ultimately enter into commercial operation with a real system by 2030, if all goes well.