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Richard Branson invests in the hyperloop

12 October 2017

Hyperloop One is developing a system theorized by entrepreneur Elon Musk for rail transport at near-supersonic speeds, and in August announced that a test of full hyperloop system at its private facility in the desert near Las Vegas was a success, hitting record speeds.

Virgin Group has invested in Hyperloop One and rebranded the company Virgin Hyperloop One.

Branson joined the board of Hyperloop One and the company would rebrand itself as Virgin Hyperloop One in the coming months, Hyperloop said in a statement on Thursday.

"Virgin Hyperloop One are leading the way in these efforts", he continued, noting that the company is "working on exciting projects in the Middle East, Europe, India, Canada, and the USA".

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson predicts he will travel in space before he ever becomes a passenger on a hyperloop.

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Hyperloop One has spent the last three years floundering, and seems unlikely to materialize as a functioning consumer-facing entity any time soon.

But Hyperloop One has not been without controversy.

Several companies are now exploring the market, including Northeast Maglev, Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. Both have abandoned some of Musk's initial concepts, such as the proposed route and cost estimates, but kept the core technological proposal intact.

"You may first have heard of the original hyperloop name through Elon Musk", Branson wrote in a blog post announcing the deal. Hyperloop One lost its cofounder, Brogan BamBrogan, in a messy lawsuit alleging physical threats and financial misconduct against his co-founder and other company executives. Musk tweeted that he had "verbal government approvals" to build an underground tunnel from NY to Washington DC through his start-up The Boring Company, although he did not, in fact, have formal approval from any relevant government body.

Musk's hyperloop involvement is for now limited to potentially building the tunnels with his latest startup - The Boring Company. In the United Kingdom we would not be able to use any existing transport corridors at these speeds due to their lateral curvature.

Richard Branson invests in the hyperloop