New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): The prospects of India embracing hyperloop technology for high-speed train systems seem dim in the foreseeable future, with NITI Aayog Member V K Saraswat expressing skepticism due to the nascent stage of the technology and its questionable economic viability. In an exclusive conversation with PTI on November 5, Saraswat conveyed that foreign propositions for introducing hyperloop technology into India were not seen as practical due to the technology's immaturity.
Hyperloop, conceptualized by Elon Musk, the visionary behind Tesla and SpaceX, is envisioned as a high-speed train operating within a vacuum-sealed tube. Despite its potential, Saraswat emphasized the current emphasis on the study of the technology rather than its immediate implementation within the country's transportation infrastructure. "So we have not given much importance to that and as on today, it is only a study program. I don't expect hyperloop to enter into our transportation framework in the near future," he clarified.
The Virgin Hyperloop, a frontrunner in the race to materialize the concept, conducted a test run on a 500-meter track in Las Vegas, USA, on November 9, 2020. During the trial, a hyperloop pod, designed for passenger travel, achieved speeds exceeding 161 km/hr, with passengers, including an Indian national, onboard.
Saraswat emphasized the lack of mature investment options in the hyperloop technology sector, underlining the infeasibility of committing resources to such an underdeveloped domain. Notably, the Virgin Hyperloop-DP World Consortium received authorization from Maharashtra to spearhead the Mumbai-Pune hyperloop initiative, indicating regional interest in the prospects of hyperloop-based transportation.
In summary, despite global interest and limited local exploration, India appears reluctant to integrate hyperloop technology into its existing transportation fabric, considering its current low level of technological maturity and questionable economic viability.