Hyperloop promises refreshing transport avenues in India
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Faster, cheaper, cleaner: Can Hyperloop be made reality?
The Indian Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari had shown keen interest in bringing the futuristic technology to India by offering land between Mumbai-Pune Westerly Express Highway to SpaceX. Now, the Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) is in talks with the minister to build the Hyperloop transportation system in India.
In September 2016, during his visit to the American west coast, the transport minister of India, Nitin Gadkari had offered Hyperloop’s parent company, SpaceX – founded by Elon Musk – a pilot test between Mumbai and Pune.
Bibop G Gresta, founder of the Silicon Valley-based start-up, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), submitted a Letter of Intent (LoI) to Nitin Gadkari. If the LoI receives a green signal, travel time between Chennai and Bangalore could come down to a mere 30 minutes from the actual 6 hours.
HTT says that they dispose of the necessary licensed technology and have on board about 25 people working on the technology from India, to build the Hyperloop. Once approved and all the land clearances and licences acquired, the project can be realised in a span of 38 months, says Gresta.
Cheaper, faster, safer and cleaner
The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has plans to bring the bullet train to India, where the first one is expected to be built between Mumbai and Ahmedabad by 2023 at a cost of about USD 12 billion.
But Gresta claims the Hyperloop to be a cheaper endeavour which can be achieved at the expense of USD 1 billion instead. The tickets will also be relatively cheaper – USD 25 per passenger for a distance of 500 km, which is about approximately INR 1,700 per person, equivalent to an AC 3-Tier ticket of the Indian Railways.
The Hyperloop will bring in an energy efficient and eco-friendly concept, which runs on renewable and kinetic energy. It utilises the solar power and generates more power than it consumes as it is a closed system.
The probability of the pods crashing is very low. Hence, if implemented, accidents in the transportation systems can also be reduced.
However, experts believe that the greatest constraint in implementing Hyperloop would not be its technology, but getting the land and licenses, and that the cost of Hyperloop may come out to be more than what is anticipated. Some also speculate that it might be dangerous for humans. But, it could prove to be quite a viable and energy-efficient system for freight and goods transportation.
Some Indian start-ups like Hyperloop India and BITS Hyperloop are also doing their bit to bring this futuristic mode of transportation to India.
Meanwhile, Hyperloop One, another company working on the Hyperloop concept, is working to connect Dubai and Abu Dhabi in 12 minutes.
What is the Hyperloop?
The hyperloop is a high-speed transportation system which can travel at an average speed of 900 km/hour, and can reach up to highest speeds of 1,220 km/hour.
Compared to the Indian Railways, it is about six-times faster than an average express train.
The passengers sit in a pressurized capsule that rides on a cushion of air. The capsule operates in a sealed, near-vacuum environment. The propulsion system used is either magnetic levitation or air pressure (similar to an air hockey table).
The concept is a brainchild of Elon Reeve Musk, who founded SpaceX in 2002, and Tesla Motors in 2003. Elon Musk has outsourced the idea of hyperloop to various companies instead of building it on his own.