Late last year, we reported that we could soon be seeing the hyperloop technology—a super-high speed pod-like vehicle, on the Indian soil. Back then, a top official from Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) had informed an Indian national daily that the company is currently seeking a nod from the Indian government to begin trials for their high-speed transportation technology in the country. And now comes the news that the US-based startup is in talks with five Indian states to build a high-speed travel network.

According to a recent statement given by HTT's chairman Bibop Gresta to PTI, he said that only does the company have five offers on the table from five Indian chief ministers, but they are also in talks with a corporate house for a local partnership and also an academic institution. He also informed that the company will be soon be raising $100 million in order to invest in the Indian subcontinent. The money will be raised exclusively for HTT's Indian project and from both international and domestic investors.

"We have five offers on the table from five chief ministers. We spoke to them and the one that will give us the land we will go and build. We have local partners and we are now raising $100 million and bringing another investment from abroad," said Gresta.

Founded in 2013, HTT is the first company to rise to the Hyperloop challenge. According to the startup's website, HTT has now become a global team focused on human-centric solutions that remove barriers to speed and efficiency in travel. The company leverages open innovation, technology, and a global community of passionate professionals to deliver the next breakthrough in transporation.

hyperloop technologies

For the uninitiated, the Hyperloop system is actually a concept proposed by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk in the year 2012 wherein trains can travel at supersonic speeds up to 800mph (1,300km/h) using reduced pressure tubes. These Pressurised capsule pods also known as the train carriages will ride on an air cushion in steel tubes driven by linear induction motors and air compressors, which allows them to go faster than the trains that are currently in motion. This concept was originally conceptualised and prototyped by American inventor Alfred Beach in the 19th century.

Though Musk proposed the concept, he made clear that he is not interested in commercialising the technology by himself. Hence, now several startups are working on different methods to make their own version of the technology. On 9 May, 2016, HTT announced that it had licensed a new technology known as passive magnetic levitation to make Hyperloop work.

HTT's interest in India started when Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India, invited the company to India during his U.S. visit in September last year. He also reportedly offered the company a big chunk of land in Pune, a city 118 kilometers away from Mumbai.

According to HTT, as far as they know the Indian government is only in touch with them for the Hyperloop system. Though the startup is a little upset and concerned with the confusion being created by its rival 'Hyperloop One’ in the country.

Hyperloop One is reportedly planning to host a seminar in the national capital this week in its effort to develop base in the second largesse population in the world.

“They (officials) are talking only with us, until now. Their (HO) company is doing an event on 27th. They are confusing a little bit. That confuses the brand Hyperloop. The funny thing is that they convinced the rail minister to go there,” Gresta said to PTI.

So far, HTT has invested a whopping $32 million in the project. It is already in various stages of implementation in UAE, Slovakia and the US.

According to Gresta, the company's action plan for India is to first build a 5-8 km track as part of its feasibility study.

Talking about the contributions of India in developing the HTT Hyperloop technology, Gresta shared that about 30 of the 600 people who contributed to the project are Indians and the company is also looking forward to having an office on the Indian soil and exploring the lucrative opportunity that the company presents. He concluded, “India is a great opportunity right now, and should embrace it. I will do it if I was a wise politician. I am passionate about India because it can be one of the first countries."

For the time being, it seems, HTT has an upper hand over Hyperloop One in making the dream of Hyperloop come true for Indians.

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