India May Be Next in Line for 600 Km/h Hyperloop Transport System
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, or HTT, announced plans to start a futuristic high-speed transportation system in the US about 3 years back, and the vision is quite close to reality now. Elon Musk-backed company is now planning to expand to other countries and India could be one of them.
Compared to HTT’s vision, existing transportation systems around the world aren’t fast and convenient enough for travel between two cities. Even in case of China, Japan and France that have extremely fast trains, the transport system isn’t as casual as a subway or a metro. Hyperloop is a result of such vision to allow passengers to travel between two places in almost one-tenth the time it would take by a regular medium.
The first proposed plan is expected to go live in 2019, with a route between Los Angeles and San Francisco. A usual 6 hour journey between the two cities will now reduce to about 35 minutes one way, which means the average speed of Hyperloop would be close to 700 km/hr.
How Hyperloop Transportation System Works:
Here is a video that demonstrates how Hyperloop works:
Plans to expand outside the US
Such a high-speed transportation system has been tested for shorter distances in the US and has found to be safe. Vacuum technology allows passengers to travel at such high-speeds and long distances in a matter of hours.
According to some senior executives at the company, HTT is eyeing India to expand into and also hire some technology talent for its research and development. There are other contenders in the race as well, as the Middle East and other Asian countries fight for the technology.
“Imagine Chennai to Bengaluru in less than 30 minutes for a fraction of the cost of air travel today,” said Joel Michael, Chief Global Operations Director at HTT. The company is scheduling talks with the Government authorities to assess the scenario in India.
The best part about this technology is that it is cheaper, and faster, than a flight anywhere. The futuristic technology carries passengers in pods, and although it might not be able to carry a lot of people at once, since it takes only about 30-35 mins between two destinations, the number of pods could be increases in future depending on the demand.
Does India have the infrastructure to make this successful?
Hyperloop One, the transportation mechanism in the US, isn’t functional yet and it might never be, in case some issues crop up. Firstly, we’re not even sure if this technology would work successfully in the US itself, let alone India. Concorde planes were highly successful in the beginning but then their operations plummeted in a matter of days.
Safety is paramount in such high-speed transportation systems and India doesn’t have many high-speed trains or other system yet. The first bullet train will be introduced between Ahmedabad and Mumbai corridor, for which arrangements will start in 2017-2018.
There was also news about driverless metrino pods to be introduced in Gurgaon but nothing has been heard about it since the Government last came up with the proposal. The monsoon season has added to the woes of the passengers and residents of the city, as the infrastructure takes a hit.
If at all HTT does make India its target destination, do we have the required infrastructure to support the development? No doubt Indian engineers and scientists will be roped in develop the massive idea, but we do not have any experience in extremely high-speed ground transportation, let alone vacuum.
On the bright side, India does need a transportation system like this to connect major cities like Chandigarh, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Bhopal. Imagine going from New Delhi to Chennai in a matter of 3-4 hours, panning almost 2200 kms.