India still believes in the Hyperloop mirage

Invented by Elon Musk in 2013, the Hyperloop idea aimed to revolutionize transportation by transporting passengers in capsules through tubes at supersonic speeds. Hyperloop One, a pioneering company in the field, initially gained attention through massive investment from Richard Branson's Virgin Group. But faced with technical and financial obstacles, the company is now facing closure and trying to sell its remaining assets. Despite this failure, the technology continues to generate significant interest.

Several projects in India

India, with its growing economic landscape and urgent need for fast transportation systems, is a fertile ground for hyperloop projects. In 2019, the Maharashtra government approved the Hyperloop One project to connect Pune with Mumbai, which would reduce travel time from three hours to just 25 minutes. At the same time, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) has also expressed its interest in India and proposed a pilot project between these two metropolises.

Although no significant progress has been made in the initial projects, the ambition of the Hyperloop in India remains. Quintrans Hyperloop, a Pune-based startup, is working on a working prototype for large-scale freight transportation. Founded in 2021, the company plans to build the first hyperloop system in Asia at a relatively low cost. Pranay Luniya, co-founder and CEO of Quintrans, points out that his system will cost much less than the more traditional bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad…

TuTR Hyperloop, which originated at IIT Madras, is building Asia's first hyperloop test facility in Chennai. The aim of this project, supported by ArcelorMittal and Tata Steel, is to develop a 400 meter long vacuum tube for testing capsules at speeds of up to 200 km/h. We are still a long way from the speeds that this technology promises.

Quintrans and TuTR Hyperloop seem determined to solve India's transportation problems… even if their projects are still in the research and prototyping phase. It will be a long time before a functional Hyperloop system comes to fruition. The biggest challenge remains the transition from idea to practical implementation, an obstacle that has slowed down many projects in this area, including that of Hyperloop One.

However, the optimism remains. Luniya hopes to have a commercial hyperloop operational by the end of this decade. At the same time, there is progress in China and Europe. Chinese researchers plan to develop a working system by 2035, while HTT won a tender to develop a system in northern Italy, highlighting continued interest in the technology on the Old Continent.

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