India Government Approves Hyperloop Project
The government of Maharashtra, located in India, recently announced that the development of a hyperloop as a public infrastructure project, and has named Virgin Hyperloop One as one of the original project proponents. The announcement was made late last month.
Virgin, working in collaboration with global ports owner DP World, will spearhead the project. Both Mumbai and Pune, which are roughly 100 miles apart and would be connected by the project, are located in western India. With the help of the project, that distance could be crossed in 35 minutes.
The hyperloop concept originated with inventor Elon Musk, who then made the basic plan “open source,” a practice borrowed from the software world, in which a plan or set of code is opened up to the public for further development. That opened the door to HTT and its prime competitor, Hyperloop One (now known as Virgin Hyperloop One), to begin work on bringing the idea to life.
The transportation system makes use of a depressurized cylinder made up of a series of steel tubes through which levitating cylindrical passenger (or freight) pods travel at high speeds on a cushion of air.
While there has been a number of instances of interest and research in the United States, including Pennsylvania approving hyperloop study in March and a multi-state study announced in February 2018, India could be the first country to get a completed, functional hyperloop project.
India Hyperloop Project
According to Quartz India, roughly 75 million passenger trips are made between Mumbai and Pune annually, and the number is expected to rise to 130 million a year by 2026.
Maharashtra government is expected to kick off a bidding process for construction work and Virgin Hyperloop recently raised $172 million in funding, $90 million of which comes from DP World, which will also spend $500 million to complete the first phase of the project. Other funding will come from investors and no taxpayer money will be used on the project.
"Maharashtra will create the first hyperloop transportation system in the world and a global hyperloop supply chain starting from Pune," said Devendra Fadnavis, chief minister of Maharashtra.
According to The Verge, the hyperloop has yet to be certified as safe for human use. Hyperloop One announced its intentions to complete work in India in November 2017. Around the same time, the company signed agreements with the governments of Maharashtra and Karnataka. There are hopes that the contract will be awarded by the end of this year.
“The dynamism shown by the state and federal governments and public agencies in India has been visionary, and the country will reap the benefits of being a first-mover in adopting hyperloop technology,” said Harj Dhaliwal, Managing Director of India and Middle East, Virgin Hyperloop One.
“Once commercialized, it will transform the Pune-Mumbai corridor into a mega-economic region moving people and cargo between these two centers in a cost-effective and sustainable manner. This process creates a blueprint for a hyperloop network spanning the entire nation. We would like to thank the government of India, state of Maharashtra and partnershing agencies for getting the project from vision to reality.”