During this summer, a student run team from India named Hyperloop India designed the Hyperloop prototype OrcaPod for the SpaceX competition. Later into the year, a team of engineers, designers, and manufacturers from Bangalore built, tested, and shipped the OrcaPod to California for the final leg of the competition. The team didn’t manage to win, yet the aspirations of the students and the results of making it to the last stage of the competition lighted an inspirational fire in the country, potentially making India a favorite for realizing the Hyperloop dream.
On December 4th, the Mahanagar Region Development Authority (PMRDA) in India started its pre-feasibility study for a proposed Hyperloop route that would connect Pune and Mumbai. In collaboration with the PMRDA, Virgin Hyperloop One has made several field visits to the site to help with the study. Kiran Gitte, CEO and metropolitan commissioner of PMRDA, stated that “the plan is to connect the metro hub of Pune and Mumbai through hyperloop transport. The pre-feasibility study is focussing on identifying the possible route, stations, alignment, and conducting a passenger survey.” Gitte further stated that the study would explore a route extension to include the Mumbai international airport and the proposed airport in Purandar. After the pre-feasibility report is submitted to the state government within six weeks, a full feasibility report and the detailed project report would be prepared if the pre-report is approved by the government.
Data collected for the study has reported that about 1.10 lakh vehicles, 80000 cars, and 6000 buses travel between Pune and Mumbai every day. This level of population density is what attracted Hyperloop One to explore the development of a hyperloop on the route. Moreover, Hyperloop One has suggested construction of the route along the expressway.
Nevertheless, making the hyperloop isn’t even the largest challenge. Nor is government regulations or safety issue for the public. Rather, the real challenge is in making a transportation system that can compete financially with established airlines, trains, cars, and buses while being practical. Regardless of the fact, India has shown a noticeable interest in innovation and renewable energy in the country’s recent history, making the hyperloop dream very much alive and well in the nation.