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Credit: CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images

Need for speed: India may soon have the world's first fully functional hyperloop train

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Jul 31, 2019

Elon Musk's wildest hyperloop dreams may soon be coming true in India, which is officially seeking bids in a multibillion-dollar "public infrastructure" project for the building of an "ultra-fast, futuristic transportation system," writes The Verge. Virgin Hyperloop One will most likely end up supervising construction of a vacuum tube-based train in the western state of Maharashtra, although there are still no guarantees that such a supersonic vehicle is safe for human travel just yet. The plan is to erect a hyperloop between Pune and Mumbai, two cities that are currently separated by a three-and-a-half-hour distance if you drive a car. The sci-fi train would cut down that time to just 35 minutes.

Per the report, no taxpayer money will be sunk into this venture. Rather, a major port-centric business, DP World, is set to invest $500 million in the initial phase of the operation. The remaining capital will come from other investors, although it's not specified whether they'll be companies, individuals, or some combination of both. Having invested $90 million into Virgin Hyperloop One already, DP World already has two seats on the tech company's board of directors.

hyperloop

Credit: CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images

At its test facility in the Nevada desert, Virgin Hyperloop One has already begun to run simulations on the hyperloop, shooting a "magnetically levitating pod through a nearly airless tube at speeds of up to 240 mph." However, that's apparently well below the technology's theoretical maximum speed of 700 mph. Not that this discouraged the company, which feels that it just needs an extra 1.2 miles of track to actually realize the train's full potential. An agreement with the governments of Maharashtra and Karnataka was signed in 2017, allowing the company to explore the possibilities and repercussions of the burgeoning mode of transportation in the region.

While nothing is certain at this point in time, it's still exciting to imagine how a fully functioning hyperloop would revolutionize the travel industry. Who knows, we may very well end up with that core-traveling elevator ("The Fall") from the 2012 reboot of Total Recall, or that totally rad locomotive (also called a hyperloop) from Men in Black: International, which takes Tessa Thompson's character, Agent M, from New York to London in a matter of seconds.


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