June 24, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Hyperloop

The Hyperloop is a new way to move people or things anywhere in the world quickly, safely, efficiently, on-demand and with minimal impact to the environment. The system accelerates a passenger or cargo vehicle through a steel tube in a near-vacuum using that linear electric motor. The autonomous vehicles glide comfortably at faster-than-airline speeds over long distances due to the extremely low aerodynamic drag and non-contact levitation. There are no direct emissions, noise, delay, weather concerns nor pilot error. By eliminating the three fundamental things that prevent modern transportation from reaching its full potential – air resistance, friction and energy dependency on the grid/fossil fuels – the Hyperloop seeks to change the way humans think about transportation.


Conventional methods of transportation all have the problem of air resistance. What most people don’t realise, is that air resistance is a large force, especially on high speeds. You can try this for yourself: next time that you are in a car on a highway put your hand outside the window for a short while. The force on your hand will be pretty severe. Now imagine your hand is the size of the front of a train (which is maybe 1000 times bigger) and imagine you have to keep your hand still for the entire journey. That costs a huge amount of energy. The Hyperloop travels through a (soft) vacuum. By doing this we remove the air resistance. Instead of using energy to push air particles out of our way we can use it to go faster. And actually, the energy needed to go faster is way less than the energy needed to push air particles away for the entire journey. Thus by doing this, the concept is capable of achieving higher speeds with less energy.


Hyperloop is based on three scientific principles.

Magnetism: The moving shuttle would be magnetically suspended within the vacuum tube without touching any part of the tunnel while it is traveling. So no contact, no friction.

Vacuum: The Hyperloop transport tube would be airless to virtually eradicate any air resistance.

Inertia: The Hyperloop technology uses nearly linear channels so the turns would be less sharp or there would be no turns at all. This ensures continuity of momentum without sharp turning points which serve as intermittent speed breakers.
All of the above mentioned factors give Hyperloop technology a great advantage over other four modes of transports, including air travel.


When traveling with airplanes a lot of the travel time is spent on airports. Checking in, going through customs, boarding, taxiing and take-off all take up a lot of time. And this proces is repeated at the destination airport. The Hyperloop can be as convenient as a metro-network. People get to the station, go through a brief security check, and board the next Hyperloop. Because of the high frequency (capsules could leave every 1 or 2 minutes) you won’t have to wait hours for the next Hyperloop to depart.


Solar power is the big reason. By placing solar panels on top of the tube, the Hyperloop can generate far in excess of the energy needed to operate. This takes into account storing enough energy in battery packs to operate at night and for periods of extended cloudy weather.”

Building a 350 mile tunnel probably wouldn’t be practical, either, and building the tracks on pylons allows the system to withstand earthquake damage. This also reduces the network’s footprint, so that it can be built along with existing infrastructure.


There are two costs to consider: 1) operating costs and 2) initial construction costs. Operating costs will be lower than conventional methods of transportation, because the Hyperloop uses way less energy. Energy is pretty expensive already, so using less of it is a good thing if you want to make profit. Construction costs are a little bit more expensive. However, because the Hyperloop capsule is very lightweight we don’t need all the foundations that conventional methods of transportation need. This makes our concept 3-5 times cheaper to build per kilometer (or mile) compared to high-speed-rail.


Of course, it would be almost impossible to create windows in the capsules. So therefore you might think that claustrophobic feelings may pop up very fast. However, right now we also travel in trains through tunnels for more than 30 minutes, and we use metros in which almost no light is visible. We travel in planes for more than 10 hours at 12km height with just very tiny windows. So why wouldn’t we want to go in a capsule for a mere 30 minutes?

By using high-resolution screens on all sides of our vehicle which display a 360° view of the surroundings, we think we still make up for a good view during the journey. Furthermore, extra attention will be paid to creating a spacious and comfortable design.


How can it possibly? The entire thing runs on a solar power and is independent of the grid. Also, because it is packed in a pipe, it is literally disconnected from our environment. There is no air pollution, no noise pollution, no chemical pollution…no evil at all!!


The number of pods per hour is related only to the distance between city pairs (distance dictates your top speed, which determines your pod spacing, more or less). However, the length of the pod does not factor proportionally into energy required. That means that you could build a 3 system setup:

1) Compressor Section – unfortunately required to get around the Kantrowitz choking limit

2) Power Supply – this would go in the back, and would be responsible for powering propulsion and compressor (as well as control, etc).

3) Passengers – the center sections, capable of powering their own life support, entertainment, etc.

Since passive magnetic levitation gets easier as you stretch the pod “train” (longer means you can put more magnets on), that means you are using proportionally less energy every time you add another passenger car. You probably design the battery section for the longest allowable train (let’s just call it 5 passenger cars), plus a margin of safety.

You’re now sending 5 cars through at the same pod spacing as before. A production design would likely aim for the 24-30 passengers per car range. Let’s call it 28.

So, let’s do some math.

For the city pair that lets you get to 760 mph, let’s assume that you have an emergency braking of 1g. That requires about 34 seconds to get from full speed to a dead stop. In that 34 seconds, the pod travels about 3.7 miles. That gives you how much room you need to safely stop if the pod in front of yours is stationary. We’ll round up to 4 miles just to give you buffer and to make the numbers nicer.

The route designed by SpaceX for the SF/LA city pair is about 360 miles. That means that at any given time, you should be able to fit 90 pods into the tube (with another about to enter). If it takes their estimated 35 minutes to travel, this means that you are launching a pod every 23 seconds. That’s a little insane. Let’s make it every 5 minutes to allow for loading/unloading, airlocks, etc (if you have something like an assembly line similar to a lot of amusement park rides – picture the setup for loading a raft ride, you can do everything simultaneously and cut that down to under a minute). That’s 7-8 pods in the tube at any given time.

Converting that to pods per hour, 5 minute spacing with our assumed pod train size translates to 1820 passengers per hour. 1 minute spacing brings that up to 8400 passengers per hour. HSR is about 9600 passengers per hour (from Eurostar), at 800 passengers per train.

From the Reddit answer by a member of rLoop.


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Development of the Hyperloop has grown exponentially since it was put forward by Elon Musk in 2013 – there are now businesses making investments in full scale engineering firms in different countries to realize this concept at a global level. One of these firms,Hyperloop One, started by a former SpaceX employee, has taken exceptional strides towards making Hyperloop a reality – the company’s much-awaited open-air propulsion test held just last month in Nevada was a resounding success and possibly a landmark event in transportation history. The Hyperloop promises to revolutionize countries by bringing markets, industries and people closer – and this same firm has open-sourced the discovery of regions that can actually develop and benefit from this promised mode of transport via a global competition – the Hyperloop One Global Challenge. This is very different from traditional engineering competitions: here, the company provides the technology, and we make a valid case for how it should be used in our country.

Hyperloop One has the publically declared goal of  making this new transport technology a reality by 2021. This strongly depends on upon successful testing and mustering immense investment that it would take!

Also, the SpaceX Hyperloop pod design competition is an incentive prize competition sponsored by SpaceX that is being held in 2015–2016 where a number of student and non-student teams are participating to design—and for some, build—a subscale prototype transport vehicle to demonstrate technical feasibility of various aspects of the Hyperloop concept. More about this competition here.


The Hyperloop & India

Hyperloop One, a US-based company formed to explore Musk’s Hyperloop concept  is reinventing transportation to eliminate barriers of time and distance by using Hyperloop transport to move cargo and passengers immediately, safely, efficiently, and sustainably. The company is currently building a short 1.9-mile (3 km) test track in the Nevada desert to test lightweight prototype Hyperloop pods. Its publicly stated long-term goal is to deliver a fully operational Hyperloop system by 2020. On May 11, 2016 Hyperloop One conducted the first live trial of Hyperloop technology – a possible landmark in the history of this new mode of transport


Hyperloop One is building a new form of transport for inter-city and inter-continental conveyance of large volumes of passengers and cargo. Their future clientes are governments, transport ministries and large engineering firms who have the vision and drive to bring the Hyperloop to their region/corridor. While they are already collaborating with interested parties from around the world, they are also reaching out to other interested countries and regions by crowd-sourcing the discovery of feasible areas to develop the Hyperloop via the Hyperloop One Global Challenge.

The first-of-its-kind competition aims to identify and select locations around the world with the potential to develop and construct the world’s first hyperloop networks. It invites teams from anywhere on Earth to put forward a comprehensive commercial, transport, economic, and policy case for their cities, regions, or countries to be considered to host the first hyperloop networks.


Hyperloop India is a non-profit initiative with the vision and motivation similar to that of Lee Kuan Yew, the father of modern Singapore, who had foreseen Singapore’s future when he introduced possibly the world’s best public transport system, simply to make sure millions of hours of manpower a year were not lost waiting in traffic.
Starting off earlier this year with a small group of students from BITS Pilani, we have expanded by bringing together people, organizations and stakeholders from all over India who have powerful ideas and are interested in reinventing transportation in the country to move cargo and passengers immediately, safely, efficiently, and sustainably. Reaching out to government institutions and PSUs (Ministries of Railways, Road & Transport, Energy) has helped us shape and collaborate towards a common goal of bringing the Hyperloop to India.  We are grateful to have leading experts and academicians in transport, technology, economics, and innovators on board from many of these institutes. Our partners and advisors  include many pioneers in the data and logistics sector viz. SocialCops, Locus.sh, Vamaship and Government enterprises like RITES, Make in India team and NITI Aayog. The team draws majorly from educational institutes and we are mentored and research-led by faculties from BITS Pilani and Indian School of Business.

We are the only team of this scale representing India in putting forward a comprehensive commercial, transport, economic, and policy case for the country to host the Hyperloop.


Russia recently signed a deal with Hyperloop One to study the possibility of Russia’s first Hyperloop on a 70-kilometer run between China’s mineral and manufacturing heavy Jilin province and Zarubino, a port on Russia’s Far Eastern coast. China and Russia are excellent markets for the Hyperloop because they are respectively the 2nd and 3rd largest transportation networks in the world. India comes in at a close 4th.

The fastest train in India was launched this year in April – The Gatimaan Express. With a top speed of 160 kmph, it covered the nearly 200 km distance between Delhi and Agra in exactly 100 minutes, as promised. It is, however, only slightly faster than the Shatabdi, which was launched 28 years ago – In three decades, the fastest train in India has improved in speed by just a few kilometres per hour.

The next shift in Indian transportation is the recently-approved Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail, to be completed by 2024, which will move at high speeds of upto 350 kmph (as compared to the Hyperloop’s 700+ kmph top speeds). The setting up of the Make In India program in 2014 and public sector companies like the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd. in January this year to fast track the development of projects like the high-speed rail is a sign that India is taking steps to catch up with its developed counterparts.

However, the Hyperloop is different – not only has it been designed to be better than the high speed rail, but it also represents an opportunity for India to be on par with the world’s leading countries by competing with them to get involved in this new transport revolution. While India is a developing country, it has a natural advantage over other regions of the world just by the virtue of its huge and rapidly growing passenger and cargo demand, and its gigantic transportation network – Prominent industrial corridors in India, like the Delhi-Mumbai corridor represent humongous potential and growth for a Hyperloop network in the future.


Although Musk emphasized transporting people, Hyperloop One’s vision is broader. They think of it as a network of tubes, exchange points, and off-ramps that can transport all kinds of things anywhere in the world. It sounds a lot like the Internet, but for transport. For a global Hyperloop network to be possible, it has to start linking the world’s largest transportation networks simultaneously. And having the 4th largest transportation network in the world, here is where India comes in!

This is why India needs the Hyperloop, and vice versa.


From a Quora answer by Bruce Upbin, VP of Strategic Communications at Hyperloop One.

“There are a few ways the Hyperloop is better than the High Speed Rail: cost, speed, safety and flexibility. (Obvious caveat: Hyperloop networks don’t exist yet and high-speed rail networks do. Advantage: HSR!)

Cost is a tricky comparison because the capex and opex numbers are entirely dependent on route, terrain, what you’re transporting, how fast and how often. But we think we can offer 2 to 3 times the performance for less money. Hyperloop systems will be able to travel at speeds north of 500 mph. Typical high-speed rail systems are well under half that. An auditor we worked with estimated that a Hyperloop system can be built for 60% of the cost of high-speed rail. We have numbers coming out shortly that are far more route-specific that will reinforce this conclusion. Most of the savings comes from less intrusive civil engineering work and having to add propulsion to only a small fraction of the track compared to high-speed rail, which is usually electrified the whole way. Maintenance is significantly less also due to our contactless track.

Hyperloop is safer because we don’t build at-grade. We’re either on columns or underground, reducing the risk of collisions with other vehicles or people. We’re also autonomous and unaffected by weather. If you take away at-grade crossings, pilot error and weather, you eliminate roughly 90% of rail accidents.

Speed gets all the headlines but Hyperloop’s other huge advantage is flexibility. Our systems are designed to be on-demand, with passenger pods leaving every few minutes or at even shorter intervals. It’s packetized travel. Most high-speed rail departures are once or twice an hour. With Hyperloop, you’ll be able to leave or arrive when you want and you don’t have to kill time getting bad coffee and pretzels at the bahnhof.”




Hyperloop India is broadly constituted of and is bringing together organizations and individuals who fall into the following non-exhaustive list:
  • Private sector businesses who wish to secure Hyperloop to transform business conditions on their corridor.
  • Ministries or Departments of Transport which wants to secure Hyperloop to transform transport on their corridor.
  • Innovation Agencies seeking opportunities for businesses in your location to participate in the Hyperloop One supply chain.
  • Investors who see Hyperloop’s potential to generate transformational commercial returns through, for example, providing unbeatable rapid transport that offers premium comfort and massively lower operating costs.
  • Developers who see the potential to create once in a generation increases in property values as radically shorter Hyperloop journey times of a few minutes enable remote locations that were previously hours away to be developed or regenerated.
  • Academics or a research institute with research interests in the field who see the potential of Hyperloop to transform how people and places interact in the 21st Century economy.
  • Architectural firms that are able to envision not only how Hyperloop transforms the built environment in a particular place but also brings different places and functional spaces together to create new kinds of locations.
  • Transport operators with a proven track record in rail, air, maritime or multimodal that seeks to transform their service portfolio with Hyperloop.
  • Economic Development Agencies seeking to transform the locational competitiveness of your cities, region or country.
  • Engineering firms with expert knowledge of the corridor construction in local physical conditions.
  • DBFOM consortiums or Project Finance providers seeking to include Hyperloop in your project pipeline.
  • Regional or National Governments seeking to leverage Hyperloop to boost the image of and increase the worldwide profile of their territory.
  • Urban mobility designers interested in building greener, smarter cities

Find yourself in the above list and/or have powerful ideas about the Hyperloop? Drop us a mail at info[at]hyperloopindia.in to get in touch!


This is an opportunity to:

  1. Work on a problem that is challenging, high-impact and solving which will affect the entire country by introducing a fundamentally new form of transport
  2. Work with diverse teams, handle complex data, gain unique perspectives on cutting-edge technology, business and economics, and be involved with publicity
  3. Interact and engage with transportation & development ministries as well as large transport/infrastructure/urban development conglomerates and companies
  4. Represent the country as a part of the collaboration responsible for bringing the Hyperloop to India
  5. Impact policies, legislative processes and acceleration plans related to transport and infrastructure
  6. Contribute to large-scale industrial development, boosts in economy, and clustering of communities
  7. Get your ideas about the Hyperloop mentored and refined for the Indian context by leading experts in the transport and infrastructure sector in India
  8. Be a part of a global transportation revolution aiming to link the world’s top economies


Partners, advisors & even individuals can aid India’s case at the Hyperloop One Global Challenge by :

  1. Providing data and insights along five dimensions: corridor, strategic transformation, current demand, government & policy, and acceleration plans.
  2. Providing resources or support to the team to craft the submission and proposal.
  3. Committing to provide either resource input or funding for further study work, should Hyperloop India advance to the next stage of the challenge


This is not an engineering competition – Hyperloop One provides the technology, and we have to tell them how it is to be used in our location. Our case study has to be complete in these 5 areas:

  1. Hyperloop Route : Identification of corridors in India with the vision and drive to use Hyperloop to create new travel opportunities for passenger and cargo
  2. Transformation Strategies: Creative strategies regarding how the Hyperloop could fundamentally change the proposed corridor and region
  3. Passenger and Cargo Flows: Case studies related to population and economic output statistics along proposed Hyperloop corridor in India and details regarding passenger and cargo flows
  4. Government and Policy: Understanding of the methods of funding, permitting, and regulating large-scale infrastructure projects in the country
  5. Acceleration Plan: Proposals to coordinate, streamline, and accelerate the processes required for new infrastructure development

Apart from the above, our submission will also benefit from involvement from the sort of organizations listed here. If you are involved with such organisations or can get us in touch with them, then that would also be a invaluable contribution.


Drop us a mail at info[at]hyperloopindia.in and we’ll get back as soon as possible!