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Virgin Hyperloop CEO joins Yahoo Finance after the company completes first test with passengers

Virgin Hyperloop CEO Jay Walder joins Yahoo Finance after the company completes first test with passengers.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: We want to bring in Jay Walder. He's the CEO of Virgin Hyperloop. And Jay, congratulations on this milestone. Let's just start with how big of a step forward this is, just to commercializing the Hyperloop technology.

JAY WALDER: Having me. And it's all smiles, I'll tell you. This is huge. This is huge. And we've really-- if you think about Hyperloop, we'd already proven that the technology works. We'd run about 400 tests. And the question that we get asked most often is, is it safe? And yesterday, we answered that question with a resounding yes. We had the first passengers in a Hyperloop pod. They were two of our team members, our Co-founder and CTO Josh Geisel, and our Director of Passenger Experience, Sara Luchian. And they got in, and they had an unbelievably great ride. And we're all smiles.

ADAM SHAPIRO: It's definitely very cool. But historians will point out that the first subway system in New York was a pneumatic kind of system. Now, this is clearly light years ahead. But when do you get to 600 miles per hour, because those of us who are sci-fi geeks want to go that fast? And do you have the financing to build a track long enough to test at 600 miles per hour?

JAY WALDER: So let's take it in pieces to what's to going on here, right? So first off, let's be clear. This is paving the way, not to what people did in literally not even the 20th century, but the 19th century. This is really setting out and saying, what are we building with a clean sheet of paper for the 21st century? It's high speed, as you said, over 600 miles an hour. It's high capacity. It's on demand and flexible, more like ride hailing than the way that you think about train schedules. It carries people and freight. So it gives us both mobility and logistics at the same time. And it's green. This is going to work without polluting the air that we breathe.

So this has absolutely nothing to do with what was done in the 19th century. This is about using modern technology, automated equipment, magnetic levitation, machine intelligence, and being able to do it. It's real, and we're proving that that's happening.

The facility that we have here in Las Vegas-- I'm about 20 miles outside of Las Vegas as I'm speaking to you right now. The facility we have out here has a 500 meter track, and that's what we used for the test yesterday. We have announced that we are building the US Hyperloop Certification Center, will be in West Virginia. And that facility will be about 10 kilometers, about six miles long, so 20 times the length of what we have. It will allow us to get up the higher speeds, will allow us to be able to demonstrate multiple pods in the tube at the same time, and to go through the full process of safety certification.

We should have that certification done by 2025. And we we'll have-- we're looking to have the first routes running before the end of this decade. So this is not just moving forward. It is really moving forward at what I'll call Hyperloop speed.

SEANA SMITH: Jay, and then when you do reach that goal-- you may be ahead of that goal. At the end of the day, what's so important is, you have to convince people to ride it. How are you going to convince people to give it a chance, that it is, in fact, safe? Because someone like me, I would be a little bit hesitant to get onboard.

JAY WALDER: I think that's a process that really starts with today. I mean, the people that you saw ride Hyperloop yesterday are two ordinary people. And we're going to put more ordinary people in Hyperloop. And I think you build up people's confidence by doing that. We go through rigorous safety processes and procedures. We're using, really, the most modern safety equipment and ways of being able to do this. And I think we can show everybody, and we will ultimately go through a process of certification, that doesn't just involve our company, but will involve government as well. We're having certification regulation discussions in the United States, with the Department of Transportation. They're absolutely thrilled about what we're doing.

In Europe, as well, with the European Union, as well as in India, in the Gulf countries-- so I think we're going to see something that is really going to take off very, very quickly.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Hey Jay, for the record, I'd ride. I'm not afraid. I'd do it.

JAY WALDER: Good. Me too.

SEANA SMITH: Adam and you are more of a daredevil, I guess, than I am. But it was a good pitch. I think you convinced me. I think I'd be more willing to take the chance now. But Jay Walder, we wish we had more time. CEO of Virgin Hyperloop, congratulations again on that successful test over the weekend. We wish you all the best, and hope have you soon.

JAY WALDER: Thank you very much. Bye bye.