Virgin Hyperloop One Ready to Be AssessedJanuary 2, 2020
In November, 2019, one of the leading hyperloop companies in the world – Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO) – announced that it is going to be working with Certifer. The company has been chosen to perform a third party evaluation of the company’s engineering and safety process as well as an independent safety assessment to make sure that VHO is in conformity with transportation guidelines.
Jay Walder, Virgin Hyperloop One’s CEO said: “Embedding safety into every level of our company is paramount. We are ready to take this next step and have an independent party like Certifer evaluate our processes and ensure we are building a safe mass transportation system passengers can ride in years, not decades.”
Certifer is a French railway certification agency. It was established in 1997 and has its headquarters in Valenciennes, France. The company is a major global actor in the independent safety assessment and design checking of railway systems and guided transport (metros, trams, high speed lines). It specializes in: railway, inspection, certification, test organization, non-destructive testing (NDT), independent cybersecurity assessment and many others. Apart from France, Certifer is also present in Algeria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, France, Italy, Spain, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
Certifer admitted that they have performed a total review of VHO’s solution design status. Their experts confirmed that the company is now ready to be assessed in terms of safety by an independent third party. It will deliver an expertise across all of the railway disciplines and in addition to that it will investigate system safety, hardware development, software development, civil and mechanical works, guideways, control command and signaling, magnetic propulsion, etc. The assessment will involve looking into VHO’s Engineering Safety Management Plan and checking whether the list of standards and regulations referred to by Virgin Hyperloop One is sound from safety viewpoint. Certifer will have to consider the whole hyperloop system, from pods and vacuum mechanisms to maintenance.
Virgin Hyperloop One is not the only company concerned about safety. Hyperloop, as a new mode of transportation, does not have all the regulations needed yet. That is the reason why some governments have decided to create special councils dealing with the problem. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao created the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council, the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) in India, Prof. Vijayraghavan, has set up an independent committee – Consultative Group on Future of Transportation (CGFT) in order to explore the regulatory standards for hyperloop. In Europe The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DGMOVE) has been discussing the possible regulatory paths with hyperloop companies.
Right now, regulations are crucial to the hyperloop technology and safety is a number-one priority. Coming up with this kind of directives can speed up the implementation and ensure a safe and reliable system.