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India boards the Hyperloop bandwagon

India is the latest nation to make plans for its own Hyperloop, with the south eastern state of Andhra Pradesh signing a deal with startup Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) to build a high-speed transport route between two of its major cities.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is just one of the startups working away on Elon Musk’s futuristic transport concept. When fully realized, such a system would see passengers and cargo flung through near-vacuum tubes at around the speed of sound in specially designed capsules that could cut the travel time between Los Angeles and San Francisco to just 30 minutes.

Among HTT’s competitors are the recently formed Arrivo and Hyperloop One, the latter of which is already conducting feasibility studies in several countries, including Russia, Finland and Dubai. But HTT is also spreading its wings, with similar studies underway in Slovakia, Abu Dhabi, France and Indonesia. Then in June, it announced a partnership with the South Korean government to build what could be the world’s first full-scale Hyperloop.

And now it is making a move in India. The agreement signed between HTT and the government of Andhra Pradesh aims to connect the city centers of Amaravati and Vijayawada, which take around an hour to travel between by car but would take just six minutes by Hyperloop. HTT will start with a six-month feasibility study in October looking at the cityscapes to determine the best route for its transport tubes. If all goes to plan, construction will begin thereafter.

“HTT’s transportation platform will enrich the IT infrastructure and ecosystem of Andhra Pradesh to a large extent,” said Nara Lokesh, Cabinet Minister for Information Technology, Panchayati Raj and Rural Development for the State of Andhra Pradesh. “The Hyperloop will give rise to development of various state-of-the-art technology parks and software clusters in Amaravati, helping to fortify the city’s image as a world class leader in science and technology.”

It has to be noted that the Hyperloop technology is far from proven, particularly when it comes to HTT. Back in 2015, the company announcedplans for a 5-mile (8-km) track in Quay Valley, California, though it appears that facility is still in the works. In the meantime, others have demonstrated solid progress, including Hyperloop One, which recently ran a full-scale capsule along its own test track in the Nevada desert at over 300 km/h (186 mph). With that said, the fact that governments around the world are convinced enough to at least explore the idea of HTT’s Hyperloop is promising.

 

November 22, 2017

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