IIT Madras students are building a hyperloop technology that would cover 350 km distance in just 30 minutes

Global Hyperloop Competition Team with PM Narendra Modi

Established in 2023, the Global Hyperloop Competition (GHC) is an organisation led by students of IIT Madras, with Arpit Garg at its helm as founder and head. GHC operates as an event organizer aimed at fostering the advancement of Hyperloop technology within India.

Ever thought that one could reach Delhi from Mumbai in just an hour? Sounds unrealistic! Does it not? Well, the duration of non-stop flights from Delhi to Mumbai is around 2 hours and 20 minutes. 

The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) students are motivated towards making the hyperloop technology a reality by achieving an ultra-high speed of 700 to 800 kilometers per hour. 

Hyperloop 500m Tube Animation
Hyperloop 500m Tube Animation

The journey began seven years ago when a group of students launched Avishkar Hyperloop. The concept of hyperloop, popularized by tech luminary Elon Musk, was documented in a 2013 white paper. After knowing the concept, a bunch of inspired students from IIT Madras began to pioneer hyperloop technology in India.

We often hear the phrase “time is a luxury.” Arpit Garg, one of the students from IIT Madras involved in the Avishkar Hyperloop project, stated, “We are working on hyperloop technology to reduce travel time by almost half compared to flight travel time. We have been working on a mega infrastructure project – 422 meters of tube and track, which is vacuum-compatible,” during an interview with Startup Pedia.

The track and tube have been granted various patents, and the team has secured international recognition and finished in top 5  globally on the hyperloop prototype. 

What’s Hyperloop Technology

Hyperloop Test Facility is in Making
Hyperloop Test Facility is in Making

The Hyperloop is similar to the Maglev in that the train or pod levitates using electromagnetic principles, and the entire pod is housed within a vacuum-compatible tube. In this setup, friction is minimized by levitating the pod. Air drag is eliminated by enclosing the whole system within a vacuum-compatible tube.

Once propelled, the pod or train will continue moving with minimal energy requirements. The technology operates on rechargeable and environmentally friendly lithium-ion batteries, which contain no harmful components.

The passenger capacity depends on the length of the pod. Arpit Garg, a fourth-year undergraduate student pursuing a dual degree in data science, further added that pillars on the ground would support the tube.

Avishkar Hyperloop

The organization Avishkar Hyperloop, led by students from IIT Madras, has been researching the acceptance of this technology. They have published a paper on the social and economic aspects of Hyperloop in India, emphasizing a detailed analysis of the cost of Hyperloop technology if implemented on a large scale.

We have modelled a route from Chennai to Bangalore, with the ticket price estimated at Rs 2,300 per person. The travel time would be only thirty minutes. The entire concept is based on sustainability and is eco-friendly,” mentioned Arpit Garg, head and founder of the Global Hyperloop Competition.

The technology would utilize only electricity and no fuel, requiring minimal energy to propel itself.

Hyperloop technology consists of two components: a pod or train and a tube and track. Building the tube and track consumes almost 90% of the capital. Initially, the plan was to make the track and tube 18 mm thick, requiring about Rs 18 crore.

Extensive research led the students to reduce the thickness to 6 mm, drastically reducing the cost from Rs 18 crore to Rs 8.5 crore. Building the entire setup for public use would cost Rs 51,677 crore, which could be recovered in fifteen years.

With each milestone achieved, the Hyperloop dream inched closer to reality. Converting the dream into a technological wonder, Arpit explained that the next step is to test the same prototype on a 422-meter track before attempting it on a 10 km track, with the final leg being from Chennai to Bangalore. 

The 30-meter track is located at IIT Madras, and the 400-meter one is at the Thaiyur campus, which is 25 kilometres away from the main campus of IIT Madras.

The Aavishkar Hyperloop team had the opportunity to participate in the SpaceX Hyperloop pod competition in the US in 2019. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, recognized IIT Madras’ work on hyperloop technology.

IIT Madras Students with Elon Musk
IIT Madras Students with Elon Musk

The innovation by these bright young minds is supported by the directors and principals of different IITs and has attracted influencers, industry leaders, and business heads like Sridhar Vembu, Founder of Zoho Corporation. Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw visited the college campus in 2022 and applauded the students’ efforts. 

IIT Madras Students with Sridhar Vembu, Founder of Zoho Corporation
IIT Madras Students with Sridhar Vembu, Founder of Zoho Corporation

The Railway Minister granted the project a fund of $1 million. The team has also participated in the European Hyperloop Week, with companies like ArcelorMittal, and L&T collaborating with Aavishkar Hyperloop to build the tube. 

The Railway Minister granted the project a fund of $1 million
The Railway Minister granted the project a fund of $1 million

The research and experiments are expected to be concluded by the end of 2024. “We aim to conclude the experiments by the end of 2024 and make it functional in the next 10-15 years,” said the founder and head of GHC.   

The closest to this is the Virgin Hyperloop. Its first prototype is being tested in Dubai. European countries, such as Saudi Arabia and the USA, are working actively on Hyperloop technology. 

Over 400 students from IIT Madras have been involved in the hyperloop ecosystem since 2017. Currently, over seventy students are active in the Hyperloop sphere.

Global Hyperloop Competition

Global Hyperloop Competition Team
Global Hyperloop Competition Team

The Global Hyperloop Competition (GHC) plays a pivotal role in Avishkar Hyperloop, providing a stage for teams, both in India and abroad, to showcase their innovation and research in the field of hyperloop.

Speaking about the competition, Arpit reflected, “We invite teams from around the world to come and test their facilities and pods in our tube and track. It is the world’s longest tube and track in Hyperloop technology and the only student-run active Hyperloop body globally.”

The Global Hyperloop Competition is all set to organize Parivahan, an international conference and competition on hyperloop technology in India, between April 19 and 21.

Many governmental officials, prominent personalities, speakers, and experts from around the globe have confirmed their attendance at the event.

Arpit, who is behind this competition, claimed, “This would be the next big thing after Chandrayaan. We are expecting to showcase a glimpse of the facility and port. We anticipate our first prototype run in June or July, which we hope Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate.”

FAQs

What is the Global Hyperloop Competition (GHC), and who leads it?

Established in 2023, GHC is led by students from IIT Madras, with Arpit Garg as its founder and head. It serves as an event organiser aimed at advancing Hyperloop technology in India. GHC will be conducting the Parivahan Global Hyperloop Conference from 19 to 21 April in 2024.

How did the journey towards Hyperloop technology begin?

The journey began seven years ago when a group of students launched Avishkar Hyperloop, inspired by Elon Musk’s concept, which was documented in a 2013 white paper.

What are the key features and benefits of Hyperloop technology?

Hyperloop technology utilizes electromagnetic principles to levitate the pod or train within a vacuum-compatible tube, resulting in minimal friction and eliminating air drag. This reduces the travel time by half compared to flight travel time. It operates on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, offering eco-friendly and energy-efficient travel.