Bengaluru hyperloop: Straight out of fantasy movies for solving traffic woes

With the new hyperloop technology, thousands of passengers can travel every hour between the Bengaluru airport and the city centre in under 10 minutes

Bengaluru hyperloop: Straight out of fantasy movies for solving traffic woes
Hyperloop will mean that there will be a lesser chance now of missing a flight due to traffic jam. Image courtesy: Youtube

A distance of about 35 kilometres, which takes close to 1.5-2 hours to travel, will be covered in just 10 minutes. Unbelievable! You read it right. If the feasibility study for the proposed hyperloop corridor from Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport to the city centre is cleared, it will solve the traffic issue of one of the most congested cities in the world.

Bengaluru, India’s IT hub, is all set to get its own hyperloop network, which will connect the airport to the main city. This futuristic mode of mobility will cut down travel time drastically. According to a report, people here spend an average of 71% extra time on the road due to congestion.

The traffic mess in the city and connectivity is expected to improve as a first-of-its-kind memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Richard-Branson-backed Virgin Hyperloop and Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) to conduct a feasibility study for the proposed hyperloop corridor.

What is a hyperloop?

Hyperloop is not being used commercially yet, but a number of companies are working on developing this new form of ground transport. According to the concept of hyperloop, passengers will travel at over 1,000 kilometres an hour in a floating pod. These pods will move inside a giant low-pressure tube, either above or below ground. It actually leaves little scope for driver-related mistakes.

What makes hyperloop different?

Hyperloop is similar to rail and metro network where the biggest challenge will be installing long, giant tubes or tunnels in which passengers will travel in pods. But its advocates claim the technology is cost-effective and environment-friendly.

The Kempegowda International Airport at Bengaluru. Image courtesy: Wikipedia

The magnetically propelled capsules or pods move through a low-pressure or near-vacuum tube. The low pressure minimises friction and air resistance, therefore reducing the power needed and allowing the ultra-high-speed hovertrain to take minutes rather than hours to reach a destination. As all the operations are inside the tube it also reduces the risk of shutdown due to harsh weather.

What will happen in Bengaluru?

1. According to the preliminary analysis, the hyperloop could touch a speed of 1,080 kilometers per hour. With new technology, thousands of passengers can travel every hour between the Bengaluru airport and the city centre in under 10 minutes. 

2. The pre-feasibility study, which focuses on technical, economic and route feasibility, is expected to be completed in two phases of six months each.

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3. Travellers could streamline their multimodal trips with seamless check-in and security for both their hyperloop as well as air travel, at centrally-located hyperloop portals.

4. The Bengaluru airport is the busiest airport in south India and also the third-largest in the country. BIAL aims to make the airport a transportation hub that connects people and places through various modes of transport.

5. In addition to its well-established road network, the Bengaluru airport will be connected with suburban railway in a few weeks and have Metro connectivity in four years.

6. Apart from alleviating transportation woes, the hyperloop network will boost the Indian economy by generating hundreds of thousands of new high-tech jobs.

When will hyperloop service be available?

The concept of hyperloop technology is known for many years. A number of top companies are working to turn it into a reality in the form of a commercial transport network. Companies are on a trial stage of the technology and very soon countries like India, the UAE (Dubai) and the US can see this being implemented.

The international departures section at Bengaluru airport. Image courtesy: Wikipedia

Virgin Hyperloop is the only company in the world that has successfully tested the hyperloop technology at scale. The company is now working with governments, partners and investors around the world to make hyperloop a reality in years, not decades.

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“The government of Karnataka has implemented several measures to improve the transport infrastructure of the state. The commissioning of a feasibility study for hyperloop connectivity from Bengaluru airport is another major step towards building the infrastructure required to define mobility for the future, enabling the efficient movement of people,” said TM Vijay Bhaskar, Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, and Chairman, Board of Directors, BIAL.

“As India’s hub for technology and innovation, Karnataka is embracing hyperloop as a way to keep pace, support clean growth, and open new opportunities for the city. A hyperloop-enabled airport would not only allow for faster travel times, it would create a 21st-century passenger experience and expand airport capacity,” said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop.

Hari Marar, MD and CEO, BIAL, said, “At BIAL, our vision is to make the Bengaluru airport the new gateway to India by transforming it as a transportation hub. We are excited to take this landmark step which can catalyse the economic growth of the state of Karnataka and the region. Technological innovation is key to building and sustaining a world-class transportation hub, and this study is an important step forward. This mode of transportation offers enormous economic potential, connecting passengers at unprecedented speeds, with zero emissions.”