Virgin Hyperloop trials first passenger ride in BIG and Kilo-designed Pegasus pod
Pegasus is the first manned, fully functional test of the Hyperloop travel system; a new transportation system based on autonomous pods that travel through vacuum tubes at high speeds and with virtually no air resistance.
A close collaboration between Virgin Hyperloop, BIG and Kilo, this project acts as a first-use case, while also defining the design language and characteristics for future Virgin Hyperloop vehicles. Developed as a brand new vehicle typology, Pegasus includes elements that allow the design to feel familiar, while still radically different from any other mode of transport. The holistic design DNA reflects a combination of safety and speed, tying together elements of the station architecture with that of the vessel; the welcoming exterior and stairs, and the light and inviting interior with a furniture-inspired loveseat for two passengers.
While the production vehicle will be larger and seat up to 28 passengers, this 2-seater pod was built to demonstrate that passengers can in fact safely travel in a Hyperloop vehicle. Since the vessel travels in a near vacuum environment, the need for aerodynamics becomes minimal, leading to a design that can look incredibly fast without the need for aerodynamic features.
The front ‘scoops’ of the vessel were designed to create natural steps for comfortable entry and egress. Along with the apertures on the sides of the fairing, the front door contains a forward-facing window for outward viewing down the tunnel. All of these features create a link to the architecture, where repeating soft forms and pill shape cut-outs are used to highlight depth, layers and entryways.
The interior was designed to visually maximise space and comfort while providing the necessary access to safety equipment and controls. The seating element, and most notably its extended ‘arms’, was designed to act both as armrests and as an entry and egress aid, while also housing safety equipment, oxygen throughput, and lighting. The main seating element aimed to be referential towards comfortable furniture typologies, while also being able to quickly assemble and disassemble for rear equipment access.
When designing the future of transportation and the slate is sort of blank, the opportunities are endless. We’ve needed to adjust our way of thinking away from the classic modes of transporting like trains, planes and metros, and towards a new vehicle typology, closest to that of a spaceship. Hyperloop allows passengers to get from A to B in a split second, and Pegasus provides the feeling of safety, convenience and a smooth journey.