Hyperloop Current Affairs - 2020

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IITM hosts India’s first Hyperloop Pod Competition-What is Hyperloop Pod?

For the first time in India IIT Madras is to host Hyperloop pod competition in July 2020. India has taken a few steps in bringing the environment friendly Hyperloop pod transport in the country.

Highlights

The Hyperloop Pod Transportation Project was approved by the Maharashtra Government to build the first Hyperloop line between Pune and Mumbai. Similarly, another project of Hyperloop pod transport has been undertaken between the cities of Vijayawada and Amaravati.

Similar projects are expected to operate in China, UAE as well.

International Competition

The International Competition of Hyperloop Pod Contest was initiated in 2015. The Competition is funded by SpaceX, a leading Space organization of USA.

What is Hyperloop Pod?

The Hyperloop is a sealed loop through which a pod travels. The travel time of the pod is greatly reduced as the pod travels in the tube without air resistance. It is a proposed freight and passenger transport system.

The Concept was introduced in 2013 and has been open sourced by SpaceX since them. This means that anyone in the world is free to use the concept and build on systems based on it.

The Technology

Hyperloop pod works on the same concept of maglev trains where the trains levitate over the tracks with the help of electro-magentic energy. The only difference here is that unlike maglev trains, the pods will run in a partial vacuum environment increasing the speeds and efficiency.

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Maharashtra inks deal with Virgin Group for World’s First Hyperloop between Mumbai and Pune

The Virgin Group led by Richard Branson has signed an intent agreement with Maharashtra Government to build world’s first hyperloop transportation system between Mumbai and Pune.

The foundation stone for the project was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on first day of Magnetic Maharashtra investor summit held in Mumbai.

Key Facts

The proposed hyperlook transportation system will link central Pune with megapolis as well as Navi Mumbai international airport. It aims to reduce travel time between two mega cities to 20 minutes from three hours at present. Details of project cost and time-line are yet to be announced.

The proposed loop will be a fully electric system and will have the capability travel up to 1,000 km per hour. It will be able to ferry 150 million passengers every year. It will transform transportation system and make Maharashtra global pioneer in this space. The project will create thousands of jobs and has numerous socioeconomic benefits.

Hyperloop Technology

Hyperloop Technology is dubbed as fifth mode of transportation. It is system of magnetically levitating capsules (pods) that are sent at high speeds through low-pressure tubes. It envisages tube modular transport system that runs free of friction. It uses linear Induction motors in it to control speed of pods. It is still in trial stages in different countries and not been implemented for practical use anywhere in world yet.

Advantages

Hyperloop is two-to-three times faster than fastest high-speed rail and claimed to have speeds even greater than commercial air travel. It has smaller civil engineering footprint, with no direct emissions or noise compared to railways. Hyperloop system’s capital cost per mile is 60% that of high-speed rail, and is less expensive to operate. Furthermore, Hyperloop departures could happen with a low frequency of a pod every 20 seconds which is not possible in railways.

Challenges

It requires heavy investments and therefore effective public and private sector coordination is prerequisite for implementing it. It consumes high-power compared to railways. Technical challenges and accidents may hamper its progress.

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