The Indian Railways and IIT-Madras are setting off on a joint mission to develop India’s own Hyperloop, a new system that proposes to use the magnetic levitation technology in tubes to enable travel at aeroplane-like speeds.
It’s the Hyperloop’s low energy requirement that has drawn the Railways towards the project, a statement issued by the ministry said Thursday, highlighting the help this technology can offer as the country endeavours to attain Carbon neutrality.
When complete, the Indian system will be at par with the Virgin Hyperloop facility in the US in terms of functionality but will significantly outperform it in terms of cost, the statement added.
The Railways will also be helping the institute set-up a Centre of Excellence for Hyperloop Technologies.
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The statement said the Ministry’s interest was piqued when it came to know a team of 70 IIT-Madras students called ‘Avishkar Hyperloop’ has been working on the technology since 2017, applying scalability and frugal engineering concepts for a Hyperloop-based transportation system.
The team, it added, had finished in top-10 global ranking at the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition-2019, the only Asian team to do so. Their project also bagged the ‘Most Scalable Design Award’ at the European Hyperloop Week – 2021.
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In March this year, the statement said, the Ministry was approached by IIT-Madras which proposed to collaborate for a project to develop a “contactless pod prototype” and also the “first-of-its-kind Hyperloop Test Facility” at its Discovery Campus (at Thaiyur).
The project cost, as estimated by the institute, is Rs 8.34 crore, the statement said, adding, “once established, the proposed facility will offer the world’s largest Hyperloop Vacuum Tube that can be used as a Test Bed for further research on Hyperloop by Indian Railways.”