India Science Wire A hyperloop is a prospective high-speed transportation system for public and goods transport. It uses less space (usually half or one-third) than rail and road, and enables shorter travel duration than aviation.
It is built with a network of tubes, connecting mobility hubs at various locations, with pods traveling at ultra-high speeds in a vacuum. It is said to be the future of high-speed, low cost, sustainable transport systems for passengers and cargo.
The hyperloop system has vital elements such as tubes, pods, propulsion systems, and tracks. Autonomous, levitated pods travel through a network of evacuated tubes. The low-pressure environment ensures energy-efficient operation, thanks to low aerodynamic drag. Instead of wheels like a train or car, the pods are designed to float on air skis, using the same basic idea as an air hockey table, or using magnetic levitation to reduce friction.
In addition to very fast transportation speed (700-750 miles per hour!), it offers meagre power consumption and is immune to bad weather conditions or earthquakes. It promises 10 times more energy efficiency than road transport and aviation. However, initial cost of investment is very high.
Several hyperloop companies worldwide are planning to build elevated tracks beside the highway and beside the existing railway tracks to minimize the construction’s impact and protect the ecosystems and natural spaces. To utilise renewable energy for running the system, materials for better, stronger batteries will be needed and their availability will ensure success of the hyperloop systems. Keeping the noise level to a minimum will be another concern.
The global hyperloop network is an indispensable step in achieving net zero by 2050. TuTr Hyperloop, a deep-tech start-up by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT M), has collaborated with Tata Steel and Hardt Hyperloop, Holland, to work on the development, demonstration, de-risking, and deployment of this cutting-edge technology. India’s (and Asia’s) first hyperloop test track is being implemented at the Discovery campus of IIT Madras.