New Delhi: While India has evinced interest in introducing high-speed Hyperloop technology to revolutionize its transportation system, US-based Hyperloop One is yet to receive a solid investment proposal from either the government or private players in the country.
Hyperloop, an idea from Tesla CEO and SpaceX Founder Elon Musk, boasts of a transportation system which proposes to propel a pod-like vehicle through a near-vacuum tube at nearly 1,100 km per hour and above. The pod lifts off the track using magnetic levitation and glides at aircraft speeds for long distances, owing to ultra-low aerodynamic drag.
In February 2017, Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop One, met Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and promised to revolutionize the advanced surface system in the country. If implemented, it would be possible to travel from Delhi to Mumbai in 55 minutes, Mumbai to Chennai in 50 minutes and Bengaluru to Chennai in 20 minutes.
Prabhu expressed his interest in the Hyperloop technology, saying that India would be keenly watching the project. Since then, the two parties have held several rounds of talks over the proposed project but something substantial is yet to emerge.
The Hyperloop One team was in India in July to follow up on the proposed project with various government agencies. Early July, Hyperloop One announced it has successfully tested its prototype passenger pod, reaching a speed of up to 310 km per hour.
According to Lloyd, India should skip the idea of investing in bullet train technology, a dreamchild of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and instead, go for Hyperloop's transportation system.
"The advantages that the Hyperloop brings over high-speed train is that it takes a much smaller footprint and is much less expensive to construct and, obviously, it is faster than the bullet train," Llyod said.
He added that the development and cost-related expenses are also less because Hyperloop does not need much space. "Instead of having 600-800 people in each train, we can have a small number of vehicles running frequently and it will also lead to less expensive station design," Llyod said.
After the success of its Phase 2 testing, Hyperloop is now looking forward to introducing the idea of airlocks -- which is where they can create an entry and exit point.
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