By Aparna Guddad, Special for USADT
India is at the cusp of revolutionizing the way we travel! Hyperloop is the new buzzword that has got every Indian excited and tingling with anticipation.
For the uninitiated, it all began in the summer of 2013 with Elon Musk (Founder – SpaceX, CEO – Tesla & Neuralink, and Chairman – SolarCity & OpenAl) writing a whitepaper where he conceptualized a disruptive transportation technology. He envisioned a pod like structure ensconced within a vacuum steel tube, covering long distances at supersonic speeds (estimated at almost 1200 kmph) using passive magnetic levitation system as its driving force. Musk explained that this mode of transportation would make commuting faster, safer, economical and environmentally friendly.
Musk was magnanimous to invite professionals to further develop his concept and take it to its ultimate fruition. Jumping the bandwagon were two US based companies – HyperloopOne and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT). Both the companies invited engineers from across the globe to be a part of the technology development and implementation process. Hyperloop One has successfully completed a full-scale test in the Nevada desert on the 12th of May 2017. However, both companies are only the technology providers and will require full support in terms of construction, infrastructure development and maintenance.
India with its ever increasing population, rapid urbanization, and being one of the fastest growing economies on the planet, could be the perfect launch-pad for the Hyperloop mass transportation system. These companies have shown keen interest in the development and implementation of the technology in India, albeit their approach has been very different. HTT submitted a proposal to the Transport Ministry in December 2016 and is already in talks with five Indian states for raising funds and connecting major Indian cities with a high speed network. HyperloopOne, on the other hand, invited proposals from world over asking engineers to come-up with an action plan to make the Hyperloop project feasible in their respective countries. The company has committed to collaborating with the winners on the proposed route and assured technology transfer. However the onus of Government approvals, land acquisition, capital expenditure and technology development, would lie with the participants. Amongst the semi-finalists are five teams from India, who showcased their proposals in the ‘Vision of India’ event graced by prominent dignitaries representing the Government of India.
Despite the flurry of action, none of the proposals have seen any active initiation by the concerned authorities. Whether the Hyperloop system will soon become a reality or remain a distant dream is something that only time can tell. However, the Hyperloop technology has redefined the way we envision our future mass transportation system. The road network of tomorrow – be it Hyperloop or Bullet-trains, will certainly be coveted technologies that will make commuting faster, safer and savvier.
Disclaimer: All information covered in the above article is readily available on public domain.