What is hyperloop? When can we see it?

  • The term hyperloop has suddenly taken the India by storm, with everybody having an opinion on the best route in India to deploy the futuristic transportation system. But the question remains: what is a hyperloop and when can we get one?What is a hyperloop?
  • It was entrepreneur Elon Musk who came up with the idea for a hyperloop. It is a system where magnetically levitating capsules are sent at high speeds through low-pressure tubes, thereby potentially reducing transport time — of people and goods — by more than 80%.
  • Such a system is now being developed to connect Abu Dhabi and Dubai.But why is India so excited about it?
  • Hyperloop One, the company developing the technology, has begun an online vote for people to suggest and choose the best route to deploy a hyperloop in their countries. It said the Hyperloop One Global challenge received 2,600 registrants from 90 countries. It then selected 35 semi-finalists from across the world, five of which are from India. The route choices for India are: Bengaluru-to-Chennai (334 km in 20 minutes), Bengaluru-to-Thiruvananthapuram (736 km in 41 minutes), Delhi-to-Mumbai via Jaipur and Indore (1,317 km in 55 minutes), Mumbai-to-Chennai via Bengaluru (1,102 km in 50 minutes), and Bengaluru to Chennai (334 km in 20 minutes).

When can we see it in action in India?

  • Hyperloop One has announced its intentions to begin operations in India by 2021. There are also reports that the company has already begun talks with the Indian government to see how to make this possible, and how to combine this with the Make in India mission by sourcing the necessary material locally.

Any pros and cons?

  • If approved, such plans would enable India to jump forward in its transport infrastructure and could revolutionise the way business is conducted.
  • Businesses are likely to pay for the premium charged to be able to schedule meetings and presentations cities apart, all in the same day. And this doesn’t even factor in the potential benefits to the goods transport industry.
  • But in a country like India, the flip side of such a system is also clearly visible. At a time when railway infrastructure is abysmal and the airline industry is priced beyond the abilities of most of the populace, can India really afford another transport system only to be used by businesses and businesspeople?

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