Hyperloop Pondy-Chennai travel time is 20 mins

By Sricharan R Published on Mar 01, 2017 05:39 PM IST

Ever thought of travelling at a speed close to sound? That is - travelling from Chennai to Puducherry in 15-20 mins max?

The term 'hyperloop' refers to a technology originally outlined by Tesla founder Elon Musk, which envisions transporting people and cargo in pods at ultra-high speeds along specially built tubes. This is a much needed method of travel in India, as there is a constant increase in the growth of the population.

There is also an increase in method of transport and this could surely bring in a new way of travelling. So, is it possible in India?

How does this work?

Hyperloop is a proposed mode of passenger and freight transportation that would propel a pod-like vehicle through a near-vacuum tube at more than airline speed. Air is pumped out of the tubes to maintain a low-pressure, near-vacuum environment, making it possible to move, theoretically, at close to the speed of sound.

The pods would accelerate to cruising speed gradually using a linear electric motor and glide above their track using passive magnetic levitation or air bearings. The tubes could also 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.

Will it come to India?

"India has an amazing combination of factors that makes it a possible target nation to have the first hyperloop project," said chairman and co-founder of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), Bibop Gresta, during a visit to Mumbai recently.

He also said if the government is serious about the project, they can bring it within 38 months. While critics have questioned the cost-effectiveness and safety of a hyperloop, Gresta said, "The hyperloop is based on efficiency. The cost of creating it can sometimes be one-fourth the cost of a high-speed rail, and the cost of operations can be one-fifth."

He estimated that it will cost $20 million to $40 million per km on average to build the system and will eventually cost between $20 and $60 per ticket for a passenger. HTT is currently carrying out feasibility studies for a hyperloop rail system in Abu Dhabi, which could lead to the company building its first such system between the UAE capital and the city of Al Ain.

Let's hope that this tech travel mode comes into existence in the near future in India.