Nov 9, 2020

Virgin Hyperloop achieves first passenger journey

William Smith
2 min
Virgin Hyperloop has announced the first successful passenger test of its hyperloop transportation system
Virgin Hyperloop has announced the first successful passenger test of its hyperloop transportation system...

Virgin Hyperloop has announced the first successful passenger test of its hyperloop transportation system.

With proponents of the technology heralding it as an entirely new form of transportation, it’s worth narrowing down precisely what hyperloops involve. In essence, hyperloop vehicles are intended to use electric propulsion and electromagnetic levitation, alongside near-vacuum conditions in specially built tubes, to achieve high speeds with lower energy input, for both passengers and freight. 

Now, Virgin Hyperloop has used the technology to transport two members of staff along a 500m test track in 15 seconds, reaching speeds of over 100mph - the first time humans have been carried by a hyperloop vehicle.

In a press release, Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group, said: “For the past few years, the Virgin Hyperloop team has been working on turning its ground breaking technology into reality. With today’s successful test, we have shown that this spirit of innovation will in fact change the way people everywhere live, work, and travel in the years to come.”

The concept of hyperloop transportation was first mooted by Elon Musk as a joint effort between Tesla and SpaceX, with other companies invited to create their own solutions. The most prominent of these are Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, TransPod and the aforementioned Virgin Hyperloop One.

Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop, said: “With today’s passenger testing, we have successfully answered this question, demonstrating that not only can Virgin Hyperloop safely put a person in a pod in a vacuum environment, but that the company has a thoughtful approach to safety which has been validated by an independent third party.”

The project is of a kind with Elon Musk’s own tunnel transportation visions, having founded The Boring Company in 2016. A more than mile-long test tunnel built by the company is capable of being driven through, with Musk’s eventual ambition involving a series of drivable tunnels capable of beating Los Angeles traffic.

(Image: Virgin Hyperloop)

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Jun 21, 2021

How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans

3 min
Customer obsession and working backwards from the customer is a mantra of Amazon Web Services (AWS), epitomizing its partnership with NASCAR

AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”

AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”

Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”

Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”

Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using  ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”

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