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India has been trying to solve the urgency of jammed urban transportation via various means – bullet trains, newer express ways, metro rails and battery operated cars. We have been grappling to find a fine balance between pollution and time management in transportation today.
But Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a Los Angeles-based company, is now planning to disrupt this domain in India.
In a brief chat with Entrepreneur Media, Hyperloop Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Bipop Gresta said that he had submitted an official proposal to Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari to set up a pilot project in the country.
What is Hyperloop?
Hyperloop is a new mode of passenger and freight transportation that propels a pod-like vehicle through a near-vacuum tube at airline speeds. The pods accelerate to cruising speed gradually using a linear electric motor and glide above their track using passive magnetic levitation or air bearings. The tubes can go above ground on columns or underground, eliminating the dangers of grade crossings. It is hoped that the system will be highly energy-efficient, quiet and autonomous.
“We are willing to invest in innovation. When we met the Mr. Gadkari, he’s goal was very clear on understanding what the technology was – how it works, the pros and cons. Then we started discussing possible trial rounds,” he said
“If he wants to go on we are ready!”
“We are not asking for money, we are asking for land. We have private investors and if they want to put money and can do a public-private partnership. If they don’t we have private investors who will invest,” Gresta said.
Ambitious travel projects in India have often seen road bumps due to land acquisition issues. We’ve seen in the past projects getting delayed or scrapped due to the unavailability of land and this could play a crucial roadblock in Hyperloop’s ambitions in India.
Here’s how India can benefit
The travel time between Mumbai-Pune is now three hours by train. If Hyperloop has its way, we snap that distance in 25 minutes. Hence a person staying in Pune can now travel to work to Mumbai everyday!
“The key trick is to keep the speed of acceleration less than that tolerable for humans. And it’s not that complicated,” he adds.
Can this company surpass the regulatory barricades?
Gresta has requested Gadkari to help speed up regulations. “There is a lot of misunderstanding about regulations, they act as protectors,” he said.
“I think India is the perfect country to implement a system like this because there is a real need. Roads aren’t capable of scaling anymore.... We read to have the concept of building cities around humans, we need to humanize transportation,” he adds.
Hyperloop already has a 25-member India team which is working on technology, mechanical engineering and other requisites. The company is also in talks with two other firms in outsourcing some of its technology and mechanical engineering work, Gresta did not divulge any names.
Gresta was one of the key speakers in the Global Technology Summit in Bangalore this week.