The first virtual reality passenger experience

Transportation redefined

Back in 2013, Elon Musk proposed a revolutionary solution to the future of transport: a high-speed transportation system that navigates inside a vacuum tube using magnetic levitation. He called it Hyperloop. The vehicles can travel with speeds of over 1000 km/h while being more energy efficient, environmentally friendly, and convenient compared to airplanes.

Go faster, no pressure

His concept is now being worked on around the globe by the world’s top engineers, architects and designers, including the Hyperloop team at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands. It is the third year that TU Delft is competing in the SpaceX Hyperloop Competition in Hawthorne, California having won first place in 2017. This year, they presented their “Atlas 02” pod and competed to achieve the fastest top speed along the fully enclosed 1.25 km test track.

A glimpse into the future 

As part of this year’s competition, TU Delft set INDG the challenge to create a holistic and immersive virtual reality (VR) experience of a Hyperloop journey, from entering the station to travelling in the pod, to give a glimpse into the future of high-speed transport. As Rieneke van Noort, Team Captain of Delft Hyperloop III, put it: “We do not just focus on setting a new speed-record, but also on the long-term future of the Hyperloop. Part of this is showing the public what it will be like to travel using this new system.”

Collaboration with AltSpace

This is not the first VR project for TU Delft by INDG, having previously created an interactive model and exploding view of the team’s entry to the inaugural SpaceX competition. For this year’s launch and as creative lead, INDG brought AltSpace onboard from a visual and technical standpoint to help virtually bring the Dutch team’s ‘Atlas 02’ pod to life, from recreating wide-ranging station facilities, the pod’s minimalistic interior and exterior design, as well as panoramic views, infographic screens, and navigational signage.

SpaceX competition day

TU Delft was one out of four teams from the original 21 competing teams to be given the green light to run their pod in the final competition day, after enduring a week of safety and survivability testing. In the final run, the Atlas 02 pod’s emergency brakes activated just 200 meters in due to a loss of communication. But the team was still able to reach a final speed to be 202 km/h in just 91 meters — showing the true potential of Atlas 02. When asked about whether or not there will be another competition next year Musk replied — “Oh yeah, of course”.