The promise of hyperloop is a zippy, zero-hassle journey from city center to city center.
Now, one of the the leaders in the tubular transport system, Virgin Hyperloop One—recently renamed after a substantial investment by Richard Branson—has debuted an app that illustrates how easy it might be to travel from, say, Vegas to LA. Hey, don’t worry about the fact that the actual hyperloop isn’t real yet!
Announced as part of CES today, Virgin Hyperloop One’s app was developed in partnership with transportation data company HERE Technologies. It works like other existing multimodal trip planners, like the Conduent-supported Go LA app, drawing real-time arrival information from various transit agencies and transportation modes to put together custom itineraries.
So, for example, say you wanted to immediately leave CES and travel from the Las Vegas Convention Center to Staples Center in LA. The app provides you with an end-to-end itinerary that includes turn-by-turn walking directions, even indoors (helpful in Vegas) or the ability to summon a Lyft that will be waiting for you upon the arrival of your hyperloop pod (are we calling them pods?). Then, of course, you can book and pay for your trip, all in one app.
Why make an app for a transportation mode that doesn’t exist? One reason is for passengers to start to visualize the hyperloop experience, something Virgin Hyperloop One has tried to own in the increasingly crowded space. There’s the idea that unlike an airline journey, there’s no waiting for security or boarding—all connections would be seamless and painless. (Although, truth be told, Vegas to LA is already a fairly painless journey, especially when you fly Southwest Airlines into Burbank—sorry, Richard!)
Of course, a trip planner, however well-designed, really doesn’t get anyone closer to an actual trip on a hyperloop, which is years, if not decades, away. Although Virgin Hyperloop One has built a functioning test track out in the Nevada desert, there’s still plenty of red tape when it comes to funding and building a right-of-way for a brand-new transportation mode . But it is fun to dream about how we’ll get home from CES 2030, right?