Why in news?
In February 2018, Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One signed an agreement with the Maharashtra government to build a Hyperloop between Mumbai and Pune to reduce travelling time.
Hyperloop: Fifth mode of transportation
- A Hyperloop is a proposed mode of passenger and/or freight transportation which has a sealed tube or system of tubes through which a pod may travel free of air resistance or friction conveying people or objects at high speed while being very efficient.
- The idea was first mooted by Elon Musk,CEO of SpaceX and tesla, who gave a white paper on it in the year 2013.
- The Hyperloop concept has been explicitly “open-sourced” by Musk and SpaceX, and others have been encouraged to take the ideas and further develop them.
- Speed: Because of sealed environment which offer little or no resistance, the pod can reach a speed up to 1,000 kph which is much faster than bullet train and even commercial aircraft.
- Economical: Hyperloop requires relatively less ground to construct and if it uses its own solar panels are used to generate electricity, the fare can be much cheaper as compared to bullet trains or aircraft.
- Environmental friendly: A greater benefit is that Hyperloop would run completely on electricity eliminating or reducing the need for fossil fuels and minimising greenhouse gases emission.
- Less prone to human errors: As the system is fully automated and sealed, the human related error can be averted.
- Less Land Intensive: In an already land-scarce country like ours, hyperloop will be a boon as the availability of land availability will not be an issue because steel tubes will be either erected on a column or tunnelled underground.
- One of its biggest advantages is that it can draw energy from any source including solar panels, windmills and even nuclear reactors.
- Some experts are skeptical, saying that the proposals ignore the expenses and risks of developing the technology and that the idea is “completely impractical”.
- Claims have also been made that the Hyperloop is too susceptible to disruption from a power outage or terror attacks to be considered safe
- High speed of capsule (almost at speed of sound) may cause dizziness to the passengers travelling due to vibration and jostling.
- In India where the funds for infrastructure are already thin,whether lakhs of crore can be spent for experimental transportation technology need to be considered more.
With the rising population and increasing congestion, Transport Oriented Development(TOD) is the need of the hour in which hyperloop like transportation can play a major role. However, much is needed to be done before it can become a reality.