By Udita Shukla
The Andhra Pradesh Development Board (APDB) has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with US-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) to enable the development of Hyperloop route between the cities of Amravati and Vijayawada. The ultra-advanced mobility system is projected to dramatically decrease the travelling time between the two cities from over an hour to nearly six minutes. If all goes to plan, this will be the first hyper loop project to be effectuated in India.
Hyperloop to the future
Hyperloop is a catchphrase today when talking about technology and advanced mobility solutions of the future. In more ways than one, it tingles a futurologist’s imagination and romanticism with an era of automated and smart technologies where time constraints have been conquered by a seamless application of connected data and engineering solutions.
The conceptualisation of Hyperloop is credited to Elon Musk’s Tesla and SpaceX which was first publicly mentioned in 2012. It is essentially a passenger and/or freight transportation system which facilitates high-speed travel by employing extremely de-pressurized tubes. It is basically a ‘tube modular transport’ which is still in trial stages in many countries. The consequence is a near frictionless glide attaining outstanding benchmarks of speed and acceleration.
A welcome MoU
The MoU entails a six-month feasibility study (beginning from October) of the two cities to zero in on the most optimal route to start the work on, subsequent to which the project will take off. The decision is one of its kind in India – a scenario that no state has vouched for up till now. The Andhra Pradesh government surely takes governance a notch higher in terms of development projects and prepping up for imminent challenges of migration, population increase and faster transport imperatives. The early bird reservation for a Hyperloop network perhaps mirrors the government’s anticipation of cityscapes beset with a relentless tide of commuters.
Demands of the hyperloop
As welcoming and laudable the step is, the details behind the MoU shed light on the scientific and technical styles the preliminary feasibility checks have to cross before setting out to consolidate the plan. Hyperloop demands a stable underground infrastructure that does not disrupt the regular transport channels operating on roads and motorways.
Moreover, the regulatory compliance standards will also have to shaped and formalised by the state government for the safe and efficient operation of this new transport system.
More importantly, for this futuristic transport system to gain traction and optimal customer adoption, the pricing will have to be pocket-friendly, going by the fact that it stands as a public transport initiative. Perhaps, the Hyperloop solution will have to be shaped on a similar commercial and business model as the Delhi metro network which became an instant hit with daily commuters and is undoubtedly a lucrative source of revenue to the government. Consequently, the market penetration and a positive customer response would probably form the centre of the business model that this new transport system adopts.
A smart move towards a smarter India
This is one of those few instances where the rational mind stands more or less reconciled with the vision of a smarter India, with ‘smarter’ cities and diverse and regularized people solutions. Though yet in the pipeline, the MoU shines a beacon on a more streamlined and organized urban ecosystem. Regardless of the results of the feasibility check, the government certainly deserves a thumbs up for their foresight and consciousness to be able to tackle and contain the challenges that loom a few years ahead.
This is probably the greatest development on the socioeconomic front ever since the split between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The public-private-partnership (PPP) nature of the project is touted to bring in nearly 2,500 jobs to the people. Additionally, the money pooled in also has some private investors and local stakeholders to its credit, which further differentiates the collaboration from regular government schemes and projects. Thus, we can expect a timely and successful implementation of the transport system after all feasibility checks and technical bottlenecks are dealt with.
If implemented successfully, the two cities will be able to boast about a state-of-the-art element in their daily lives. According to Krishna Kishore, Chief Executive Officer, APDEB, “By collaborating with Hyperloop, Amaravati is embracing a prototype for the mobility of tomorrow”. Needless to say, coming years might witness other cities allocating resources, both monetary and scientific, to the end of materialising hyper loop systems. The integration of hyperloop in a cityscape will undoubtedly transform the experience and perception of commuting avenues that people have been accustomed to.
Featured Image Source: Visual Hunt