Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One, a startup backed by Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson to create ultra-high-velocity transportation solution on Thursday has signed a MoU with Karnataka government to conduct a feasibility study in Bangalore.
The study will identify potential routes in Karnataka to improve connections between its emerging industrial hubs.
If the project comes to fruition, passengers will be able to travel from Bangalore to Chennai in a matter of just 20 minutes.
Virgin's Hyperloop One is conducting similar studies along with the Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh government.
“The introduction of a technology like hyperloop will further add to the pace at which the state wants to grow,” said Priyank Kharge, minister for ITBT & Tourism, Government of Karnataka at the Bengaluru Technology Summit.
The company has such tie ups worldwide including Russia, Helsinki-Tallinn, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Los Angeles, USA, Dubai-Abu Dhabi, and United Arab Emirates.
According to Earle, India is among the countries with highest potential for Hyperloop technology, a much better bet than bullet train that the country is currently gearing up to launch.
Hyperloop One's XP-1 vehicle being prepared for testing in Nevada (Photo Courtesy: Hyperloop)
To start with, the Hyperloop system claims to have a capital cost per mile that is 60 percent of what a high-speed train would cost to build and operate.
“Hyperloop also takes a much smaller footprint, is less expensive to construct, uses very less electricity and is way faster than the bullet train,” Nick Earle, Global Field Operations for Virgin Hyperloop One told Moneycontrol.
According to Earle, India’s push towards Japan’s bullet train technology will do little for the country “because besides the technology advantage, bullet train components are all manufactured in Japan, getting hardly any jobs to India.”
Hyperloop, on the other hand, plans to set up a research lab in the city, and licence the technology to local manufacturers, which will create tons of local jobs, Earle said.
The technology will require minimum real-estate commitment and uses less electricity, which is ideal for a country like India that has a huge population base, claimed Earle.
Hyperloop is a new-age transportation system that propels a pod-like vehicle through a near-vacuum tube at speed of nearly 1,100 km per hour or above.
“The pod lifts off the track using magnetic levitation and glides at speed of an airtcraft for long distances, owing to ultra-low aerodynamic drag. They can also create their own energy after a certain speed,” Earle said.
Hyperloop One has set up a development site in the desert outside of North Las Vegas, Nevada where the company conducted a series of tests.
It first broke ground in 2016, by developing the world’s first full-scale Hyperloop test track.
The team has conducted several tests since then, and successfully tested its prototype passenger pod, reaching a speed of up to 310 km per hour.
Richard Branson and Virgin Group invested into Hyperloop One in October 2017.
Hyperloop One recently opened up the projects to accept proposals from entrants around the world working on Hyperloop systems.
Two Indian teams – AECOM and Hyperloop India – were selected among the 10 shortlisted candidates for the Hyperloop global challenge.
While AECOM is working on the 334 km long Bangalore-Chennai route, Hyperloop India is working on the proposal for a 1,102km Mumbai-Chennai route.