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Hyperloop, the transportation solution proposed by SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, has caught the imagination of various state governments in the country. Hyperloop, which is a new way of transporting people and objects without using conventional cars, trains, planes or ships, is said to be more fast, efficient, and sustainable compared to other modes of transport.
India is one of the few countries that have decided to explore this new transportation mode, which will only cost half of the country's high-speed train investment.
Recently, California-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Andhra Pradesh government to develop a Hyperloop transportation system in the state.
HTT Chairman and Co-founder Bibop Gresta told Business Standard that Maharastra, Telangana, Jharkhand, and Goa have also shown interest in Hyperloop. He added that the company is exploring and conducting feasibility report.
"The year 2018 will be crucial for the company as few of the projects will take shape in India," said Gresta.
The company said it will use a public-private partnership (PPP) model with funding coming primarily from private investors.
Speaking about the Andhra Pradesh project, he said that during Phase-I, HTT will conduct a six-month feasibility study. Working with partners in the public and private sectors, HTT will analyse the surrounding cityscapes to create the best route between the two cities while identifying all pertinent stakeholders in the region. After conducting the initial six-month feasibility study, Phase-II of the project will construct and build HTT's first Hyperloop in India.
The company also said it is discussing with 11 partners to build hyperloop capsules in India.
Hyperloop is Elon Musk’s idea for a transformational transport system. The technology allows pod-like vehicles to travel through a near-vacuum tube at more than airline speed. The concept of having futuristic high-speed vehicles is not something new as we have seen with the Japanese Maglev trains which are capable of reaching dizzying speeds of 603 kmph. However, in the case of Hyperloop Transportation technology, the pods are supported by passive magnets, which receive a push that generates the levitation of the pod, by the simple magnetic field generated by movement of the pod.
There are four key differences compared to high-speed trains. It’s faster -- two to three times faster than the fastest high-speed rail. It’s on-demand and direct. Trains follow a schedule and typically have multiple stops.
Hyperloop leaves when the commuter is ready to go, and pods can depart up to several times per minute and can transport passengers and cargo direct to their destination with or without stops along the way. It’s environmentally friendly, with a smaller civil engineering footprint, more efficient energy consumption and no direct emissions or noise.
It's less expensive. High-speed rail and maglev trains require power along the entire track. Hyperloop TT needs just a laminate of aluminium and will be completely fired by renewable energy. As a result, the track costs are cheaper to build and cheaper to operate.
Gresta says Hyperloop would cost only 50 per cent of the high speed rail network. He also says, while in high speed rail network never recover the investment Hyperloop technology allows to receover in 8-10 years.
Hyperloop estimate that the top speed for a passenger vehicle or light cargo will be 760 miles per hour, or 1,223 kilometres per hour. That is 2-3 times faster than high-speed rail and magnetic levitation trains, and 10-15 times faster than traditional rail. The average speed vehicles will travel vary based on the route and customer requirements.
Hyperloop has also attracted entrepreneurs from India. Hyperloop India, a company started by students from various colleges, was recently selected as a finalist in the SpaceX's contest to showcase the fastest Hyperloop pod in US. The company has been developing its prototype OrcaPod, to participate in the contest. Reports are also that two Indian teams, AECOM India and Hyperloop India has become winners for the Hyperloop One global challenge to identify new routes to be developed using the Huyperloop technology. AECOM India has designed a hyperloop transport system in the 334 Km Bengaluru to Chennai route which could have a fare of Rs 2,000, said reports. Hyperloop India became winner by designing route between Mumbai and Chennai, of 1,102 km.
HTT's Hyperloop capsule specs:
* Length: 30 metres (98.5 feet)
* Diameter: 2.7 metres (9 feet)
* Weight: 20 tonnes
* Passenger capacity: 28-40
* Speed: Up to 1,223 km/h (760 mph)