The company, which is part of Richard Branson’s Virgin empire, released a video today showing its vision for hyperloop transportation and how it will work. It’s a pretty ambitious project and it could take years to build out. But it could very well be the first new form of mass transit to materialize in more than 100 years.

The video shows details of the “smart vehicle, dumb road” commercial system architecture, including the onboard levitation engines, propulsion engines, and high-power batteries that have never been publicly shown. In addition to the technical details, it also dives into the value, sustainability, and economics of those design choices. Virgin has talked about this a lot, but this video makes it digestible.

Virgin Hyperloop aims to send passenger or cargo pods at speeds that approach those of air travel. The 670 mph target number is three times faster than high-speed rail and more than 10 times faster than traditional rail. That means you could go from San Francisco to Los Angeles in about 30 minutes.

Above: A Virgin Hyperloop One test track in Nevada.
Image Credit: Virgin Hyperloop One

A Hyperloop is a high-speed mass transportation system for both passenger and freight transport. The term was invented to describe the modern open-source project. Hyperloop is described as a sealed tube or system of tubes with low air pressure through which a pod may travel substantially free of air resistance or friction.The Hyperloop could potentially move people or objects at airline speeds while being energy efficient compared with existing high-speed rail systems.This, if implemented, may reduce travel times compared to train and airplane travel over distances of under approximately 1,500 kilometres (930 miles).

It has three major components: a tube, pod, and terminal.The tube is a large sealed, low-pressure system that can be constructed above or below ground. A coach runs inside this controlled environment and is often referred to as a pod. The pod employs magnetic or aerodynamic levitation (using air-bearing skis) along with electromagnetic or aerodynamic propulsion to glide along a fixed guideway. The terminals arrivals and departures.]

Concept art of Hyperloop inner workings
Artist’s impression of a Hyperloop capsule: Axial compressor on the front, passenger compartment in the middle, battery compartment at the back, and air caster skis at the bottom
A 3D sketch of the Hyperloop infrastructure. The steel tubes are rendered transparent in this image.