US-based Hyperloop One (called Virgin Hyperloop One since the end of 2017) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maharashtra government to develop the world’s first operational hyperloop between Mumbai and Pune by 2025, reported Bloomberg Quint.

Backed by Richard Branson’s investee company Virgin, Hyperloop One will develop and construct a Hyperloop between Mumbai and Pune, reducing the travel time to cover the 140-km distance between Mumbai and Pune to 14-25 minutes, from 3-4 hours at present.

India may be the first country to have an operational Hyperloop, he said in an interaction with a select group of journalists on the sidelines of Magnetic Maharashtra Global Business Summit in Mumbai.

"Virgin Hyperloop One can help India become a global transportation pioneer and forge a new world-changing industry", said Branson.

"As our team’s studies have found, the Pune-Mumbai route could result in USD $55 billion (INR ₹350,000 crores) in socio-economic benefits, time savings, accident reduction and operational cost savings, over 30 years of operation", he added.

The concept of Hyperloop transportation was introduced and named by Elon Musk in August 2013, although he is not involved with Hyperloop One or any other company developing Hyperloop.

In May 2017, Hyperloop One became the only company in the world that has built a fully operational Hyperloop system, when it made a 500-meter Development Loop (DevLoop) in North Las Vegas, US.

In September 2017, Virgin Hyperloop One's biggest rival Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) also signed a MoU with the Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB), to facilitate the development of HTT’s Hyperloop transportation between Vijaywada and Amaravati, and potentially turning a trip of more than one hour into a 6 minute ride.

HTT was also reportedly in talks with five other Indian sates to begin trials for their high-speed transportation technology in the country. Later, the next month, HTT announced that it has began construction of the world’s first full scale Passenger Hyperloop Capsule, which will be delivered in early 2018. But now it seems like Virgin Hyperloop has won the race with India being its first testing ground.

To recall, a year back, one of the co-founders of Hyperloop One has launched a rival startup called Arrivo that also aims to develop technology based on the hyperloop architecture.

It is to be noted that, India too have local startup working on Hyperloop transportation technologies and its called Hyperloop India. Founded in 2015 by a small group of students from BITS Pilani, Team Hyperloop India is a unique multi-disciplinary multi-university think tank consisting of 60+ motivated student volunteers in the fields of engineering and business, interested in reinventing transportation in India.

In June last year, Hyperloop India was raising funds through crowdfunding platform Ketto. Later, the startup found its sponsor in Chennai's Hindustan University, who agreed to sponsor the Hyperloop India team, which will help them in realising their mission of participating in the final stage of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Hyperloop Competition Weekend to be held soon in Hawthorne, California.

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