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The hyperloop transportation system is an untested but next-generation version of the public and freight transport system of the world which can make commuting faster than an airplane. The concept of the Hyperloop system was envisioned by Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk in 2012. His initial concept incorporated reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on air bearings driven by linear induction motors and axial compressors. The Hyperloop transportation system is also called as the fifth mode of transport. In January 2017, Los Angeles-based company “Virgin Hyperloop One” announced a proposal in association with some consultants to evaluate the construction of five Hyperloop Transportation projects in India which include:
A hyperloop transportation system in India was first proposed in Andhra Pradesh state to connect Vijayawada with the state capital Amaravati. US-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) signed the memorandum with the Andhra Pradesh government to build a Hyperloop transport system between twine cities to cover the distance in 50 minutes only. HTT was given the responsibility to conduct a feasibility report on the 782-km long Amaravati-Vijayawada route and submit the report within six months.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) had conducted pre-feasibility and feasibility study of the project in association with Indian consultancy firm Aarvee Associates. In May 2018, HTT presented the pre-feasibility route study to the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) and officials of other nodal departments.
HTT had proposed to set up the Hyperloop transportation system in the state connecting Anantapur-Amaravati-Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam as part of the 700-800-km long integrated public transit system to be implemented in three phases.
The company had also proposed setting up a manufacturing complex that will focus on several aspects of the Hyperloop Transporation project, such as building the tube, capsule, track, and 3D printing.
Later, the project was scrapped without any outcome after changing of the ruling government in the state.
New Delhi-Mumbai Hyperloop
A 1,317 km Hyperloop transportation system between New Delhi-Mumbai was proposed by Indore-based Hyperloop company DGWHyperloop. The company had completed the feasibility study report of the project and suggested two new terminal points at Indore and Jaipur with this route. DGW had claimed that the time duration of a trip between New Delhi to Mumbai will be 60-80 minutes. But due to lack of support from the Government, no further work carried out on the project.
The world’s first full-scale passenger Hyperloop capsule
Later, Richard Branson met Union Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari in February this year and submitted his proposal to establish a Hyperloop transportation system between New Delhi and Mumbai. No positive response received on his proposal to date.
Devendra Fradnavis-led Maharashtra government after the Magnetic Maharashtra Convergence in February 2018, had proposed a hyperloop transportation project with the aim to reduce the travel time between Pune and Mumbai from around 3 hours to 25 minutes. The responsibility to work on the project was then handed over to the Pune Metropolitan Development Authority (PMRDA).
After the internal study, the authority said the Pune-Mumbai Hyperloop project would be implemented in two phases – a test track of 11.4 km on a corridor from Gahunje to Ozarde and, if the test phase would be successful, a 117.5-km final track would be built in the second phase.
The Pune authority had awarded a contract for the implementation of the Pune-Mumbai Hyperloop project based on the ‘Swiss Challenge Method’, with DP World FZE and Hyperloop Technologies Inc named as the ‘original project proponents. The consortium of between Virgin Hyperloop One and DP World has agreed to invest US$ 500 million capital in the project. Global audit firm PwC was appointed as a financial consultant and transition advisor for the project.
However, due to changes in the reigns of Maharashtra, the ruling government has left the Hyperloop project with an uncertain future citing the project is in an experimental phase and hasn’t been implemented anywhere in the world.
In August 2019, the Punjab Government had proposed to develop a 233-km long hyperloop transportation system between Amritsar and Chandigarh via Ludhiana at a cost of Rs 56,000 crore.
Subsequently, the Government signed a Memorandum of Undertaking (MoU) with Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO) in December last year to conduct a pre-feasibility economic study for Amritsar-Ludhiana-Chandigarh Hyperloop project. The VHO has to submit the feasibility study in six months but it may get delay due to countrywide lockdown.
The Virgin Hyperloop One claimed that the Hyperloop connectivity between twine cities would reduce the journey time from the present 5 hours by road to less than 30 minutes.
Indian Start-ups involved Hyperloop projects
The following start-up are actively working on the Hyperloop projects proposed in India:
Dinclix GroundWorks Pvt. Ltd.
Sukhliya Main Road, Maa Sharda Nagar,
Madhya Pradesh – 452010
Center For Innovation, IIT Madras,
Sardar Patel Road, Adyar, Chennai,
Tamil Nadu – 600036
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