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Richard Branson investing in hyperloop project

How close are we to a hyperloop?
How close are we to a hyperloop? 03:58

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson announced Thursday that the company is investing in the hyperloop company Hyperloop One, an ultra-fast transportation service

"This is an incredibly innovative and exciting new way to move people and things at airline speeds on the ground," Branson said in a statement, calling the hyperloop "the world's most revolutionary train service."

The planned train will be called Virgin Hyperloop One, according to the company. The company's system draws on ideas from Tesla founder Elon Musk, although he's not involved with the company. Tests of Hyperloop One have reached a top speed of 192 miles per hour, although the maximum distance traveled was 436 meters, Branson wrote in a blog post about the investment. Ultimately, the goal is to transport passengers and cargo via a pod that accelerates in a low-pressure tube via electric propulsion. 

"Earlier this summer I was fortunate to visit the site and see first-hand the exciting technology being tested," Branson wrote. "I was very impressed and now look forward to helping turn this cutting edge engineering into a global passenger service."

The technology "could transform passengers' lives," he added. 

Musk's original idea was to connect San Francisco and Los Angeles with a hyperloop, which he envisioned traveling at about 700 miles per hour. The hyperloop technology was developed as an open-source project, which means other companies are able to create services based on the ideas and tech. Rival Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, for instance, is working on projects in India, South Korea and other countries.

Last year, Hyperloop One asked cities to enter proposals for creating hyperloop services for their regions. Out of 2600 entries, it has narrowed down to a list of 10 finalists, including routes between Toronto to Montreal, Miami to Orlando and Edinburgh to London, with the latter route projected to take 50 minutes of travel time. 

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