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Indian state of Andhra Pradesh exploring hyperloop transportation technology for connecting two cities

Image credit: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is exploring the use of hyperloop technology for connecting two cities, Amravati[1] and Vijaywada.

The Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) to facilitate the development of HTT's Hyperloop Transportation System. The project will use a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, with funding primarily from private investors.

It could potentially reduce travel time between the two cities from 1 hour 10 minutes to 6 minutes.

In the first phase of the project, HTT will conduct a six-month feasibility study commencing in October. HTT will analyse the surrounding cityscapes, in collaboration with partners in the public and private sector, to create the best route between the two cities. The concerns of all pertinent stakeholders in the region will be considered.

After conducting the initial six-month feasibility study, Phase 2 of the project will construct and build HTT's first Hyperloop in India.

The Government of Andhra Pradesh together with APEDB, which is responsible for strategic investment planning and promotion in the state, will assist Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc. (HTT) with all regulatory requirements to develop and implement Hyperloop.

Nara Lokesh, Cabinet Minister for Information Technology, Panchayati Raj and Rural Development for the State of Andhra Pradesh said, “HTT's transportation platform will enrich the IT infrastructure and ecosystem of Andhra Pradesh to a large extent. The Hyperloop will give rise to development of various state-of-the-art technology parks and software clusters in Amaravati, helping to fortify the city's image as a world class leader in science and technology.”

Mr. Krishna Kishore, Chief Executive Officer, APEDB said, “Amaravati is a state-of-the-art city being developed in Andhra Pradesh as its de facto capital. In order to boost its image and emerge as the frontier city in future technology, Amaravati is looking forward to collaborating with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. Hyperloop is a cutting-edge technological disruption in the transportation industry.”

HTT is also working on the development of hyperloop transport in Indonesia and South Korea. Dubai signed a deal with another company, Hyperloop One to conduct a feasibility study on a hyperloop route between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. 

HyperloopTT_Capsule_Press02

Image credit: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

What is hyperloop?

Hyperloop is a proposed mode of transport which would use pods or capsules travelling at high speeds through a tube that has been pumped into a near-vacuum. The capsules can be accelerated via a magnetic linear accelerator affixed at various stations on the low pressure tube. The analogy most commonly used is the movement of pucks across an air hockey table.

Though the idea has been around for a long time, the word ‘Hyperloop’ was first used in an open-source vactrain (vacuum train) design released in white paper by a joint team from Elon Musk’s Tesla and SpaceX. The original paper proposed a low pressure (vs. almost no pressure which would be near impossible to maintain as one leaky seal or crack somewhere in the pipe would bring down the system) system set to a level where standard commercial pumps could easily overcome an air leak and the transport pods could handle variable air density. However, in this scenario, if the walls of the tube and the capsule are too close together, the capsule will behave like a syringe and eventually be forced to push the entire column of air in the system.

To overcome this, we can either build an impracticably large tube or go slowly and or go very, very fast. But passengers would not be able to tolerate the speeds required for the option of going ‘very, very fast’. Musk proposed an electric compressor fan instead on the nose of the pod that actively transfers high pressure air from the front to the rear of the vessel. This is like having a pump in the head of the syringe actively relieving pressure. 

The bend radius of the tube is limited as excess curvature at these high speeds will generate excessive g-force, making travel uncomfortable. So, the track has to be quite straight and very level too, because vertical hills and bumps also give rise to G-forces. The structure will also have to deal with earth movements. Building the tube on pylons can enable adjustment and realignment in the event of ground movement.

HTT’s technology allows for speeds up to 760 mph (1223 km/h), with very low energy consumption. The entire tube system is built on pylons, lowering the cost of land acquisition, making it impervious to weather conditions, earthquakes, and crashes.

[1]Amravati is the de facto capital city of the state. The state’s earlier capital, Hyderabad, became the capital of the then newly formed state of Telangana, post bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014.

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