Hyperloop One, a startup backed by Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson to create ultra-high-velocity transportation solution has signed a MoU with Karnataka Urban Development Department (KUDD), to conduct a feasibility study in Bengaluru.
If the project comes to fruition, passengers will be able to travel from Bengaluru to Chennai in a matter of just 20 minutes.
Los Angeles-based Hyperloop, which envisages transporting passengers or goods inside capsules put inside a vacuum created in special tunnels above the ground at speeds of over 1,000 kmph, will identify potential routes to improve mobility in Bengaluru metropolitan area to connect cities such as Tumakuru, Hubli-Dharwad and Hosur, reported Moneycontrol.
India has been facing major transportation challenges. According to the Ministry of Road, Transport, and Highways, 65% of India’s freight is transported on the country’s strained and congested road networks. With speeds nearly thrice than high-speed rail, hyperloop technology can address many of these issues.
“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.
Nick Earle, SVP Global Field Operations, Virgin Hyperloop One said, “We recognize the vital role of technology in larger initiatives like that of Digital India, and we strongly believe that Virgin Hyperloop One can be a strong addition to this initiative.”
According to Earle, India is among the countries with the highest potential for Hyperloop technology, a much better bet than bullet train that the country is currently gearing up to launch. 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. 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.
Earlier this year, the Andhra Pradesh government signed an MoU with the US-based firm to do a feasibility study that could cut down the travel time between Amaravati and Vijaywada to just 5 minutes.
The firm is conducting similar studies along with Maharashtra, as Mumbai and Pune have the potential to provide an optimal route with high density.
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.
In June, Hyperloop India led by Sibesh Kar announced the partnership with crowdfunding platform Ketto to raise funds through a campaign under the title ‘Join the Loop’ to invite contributions from all over the world.