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Inside Hyperloop News

Will India be the first country to host the Hyperloop?

Every week media outputs an update or two on the Hyperloop project and its path to the market. Elon Musk’s brainchild of a project is a magnet to attention, which attracts passion seekers as well as it builds concept awareness.
This week, based on The Economic Times reporting, we hear of a slight progression in regards to the discourse between Hyperloop Transportation Technologies company and the Indian administration.

According to a top Indian government official, “We had received a proposal from the company which has now been referred to Niti Aayog.”

For some background knowledge, the Niti Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) is an Indian government-based think tank created to foster engagement in the economic policy-making process. This agency, which was founded in January of 2015 by the Indian Prime Minister, will be deciding the fate of Hyperloop’s proposal to set up shop in India.
Road transport and highways minister, Nitin Gadkari, is also in contact with US-based Hyperloop Transport Technology and acts as a key player in this decision.

“We have no resistance to the upcoming global technology,” transport minister Gadkari continued, “however, since the hyperloop technology is yet to be operational anywhere in the world, we need to know how feasible it is.”

Interest levels of incorporating a new-age transportation system in the Indian country are high, though so are the risks and concerns. Proposing such a future-thinking concept without any viable insurance of experience, Hyperloop today still stirs anxiety over passenger safety.
Originally, the Hyperloop was drawn up with intention to serve both people (substitutive of current railways in major cities) and freight corridor. However, it doesn’t seem likely that the Indian administration will begin transporting people anytime soon.

“Their claim is impressive. However, we are not considering them for passenger transportation. We could consider them for a greenfield dedicated freight corridor for movement of containers and white goods,” a senior railway ministry official said.

For those fiscal and business-minded folks there’s no need to worry; the gain of revenue from the freight transportation industry is estimated to be multiple that of which would be generated from moving people. Us humans must wait our turn for our first ride.

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Inside Hyperloop News

Hyperloop One and HTT steer towards the future and compete for the Indian market

News broke out that Hyperloop One organization eventually settled the lawsuit procured by four former employees (see my previous post for more details on the case). CEO of Hyperloop One, Rob Lloyd, sent an email out to all employees giving notice that the coast is clear.

“Lawsuits can be distracting for companies; they often halt momentum until they can be resolved. That didn’t happen here,” said Lloyed to his staff, The Verge reports.

Though it may not have distracted the team from working towards their dream goals, this internal dispute may have prevented outside funding from coming in at a liquid-from-the-tap pace. When an inside voice comes out with allegations that the boss left a hangman’s noose at his desk, it seems likely that a few investors would think twice about jumping to the opportunity of injecting their funds in an organization with such managerial (in)stability.
What is most important here is that now, with the air cleared behind their name, Hyperloop One can continue to give 100% percent into the development and testing of its ultrafast transportation device. This is good news because at the given moment they face heated competition on the playing field for the Indian market.
In the meantime, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) — the other dominant organization and Hyperloop One’s main competitor in bringing this idea to the market — have their eyes on the potentially high-reward Indian market as well.
See the video below of Bibop Gresta, COO and chairman for HTT, and what he told FactorDaily regarding future trial runs in India.

As soon as Gresta and Co. get the nod from the Indian transport industry, HTT is on their way. Gresta claims they are the original Hyperloop in India, however, what is more important now is who strikes a deal first.
What is so attractive about the Indian atmosphere is the dire need for new transport infrastructure and Musk’s visionary Hyperloop concept proposes to solve this pain.
Alan James, VP of Global Business Development at Hyperloop One, explains his motivation to enter the Indian market in a recent interview with The Economic Times;

There currently exists “the pressing imperative to upgrade India’s freight and passenger transport infrastructure so that it is ‘fit for purpose’ as India cements its position as one of the 21st Century’s powerhouse economies,”

For the next few years, India may embody the most radical transition in transport amongst the 3rd millennium. Cooperation with Indian government as well as key Indian businesses is crucial for both companies’ success in the region. 

 “We are going to hold an event in India,” James insists, “in early 2017.”

Stay on top of the business negotiations and keep an eye out for an upcoming Indian-Hyperloop deal, which is surely a toss-up at the moment. 

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Inside Hyperloop News

Hyperloop One is in pursuit of a groundbreaking network

Amidst all of his Elon Musk’s outlandish claims and visions, the Hyperloop project keeps on trucking. However, like his proposals in the autonomous vehicle and space travel industries, Musk continues to face questions of feasibility.

The idea of passenger safety has always been in the forefront of concerns (along with finding capital) for the Hyperloop train developers. Origins for this worry should be quite clear seeing that the train proposes to reach speeds quicker than jet planes – at over 745 miles per hour.
As a way to test the feasibility of such a futuristic technology, Hyperloop One, who have become synonymous with the groundbreaking proposal, have confirmed collaboration with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority:
“We’re going to create a seamless experience that starts the moment you think about being somewhere – not going somewhere,” notes Josh Giegel, president of engineering at Hyperloop One.
At such high speeds, it is essential for the Hyperloop transport system to persuade the customers their journey is not only one of the world’s fastest, but that they can save the fears for their lives. For a jet-speed train is useless if no one can say for sure that they will depart in the same fashion they arrived in.

New plans are set — as the organization just recently partnered with their initial Transport bodies of authority — with intention to run both above the ground and underwater.

Source: Hyperloop UAE

“Hyperloop One intends to connect the two emirates, which are 150 kilometers (93 miles) apart,” Techtimes reports. “Per the plan, the company is looking to connect the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Airport, Dubai Marina, Abu Dhabi Airport, Al Maktoum Airport and the Abu Dhabi city center.”

The boss of the Hyperloop One project, Rob Lloyd, predicts that the Hyperloop One system could be built in the UAE within the next five years. Key word in the sentence is “could”. The idea still has a lot of safety concerns to settle and many a dollar sign to collect for this revolutionary idea to materialize.
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Inside Hyperloop News

Canadian Hyperloop concept is set to connect Montreal and Toronto

People all around the world are keen on getting in on the action of materializing the Hyperloop idea — whether they are researchers entering think tanks, cash cow investors looking to inject funding, or factories interested in manufacturing the design. An example of the latter is the organization called TransPod, a Toronto startup entering the Hyperloop game.
Have a look at this video below released by TransPod recently, which not only foresees the benefits for people in regards to transportation but also gives an inside look into the basics behind engineering such a brilliant concept. 

One of the largest threats critics are focusing on is that of safety. In his TedTalks session, Sebastien Gendron explains how Hyperloop, while proposing different technologies than those offered by trains and airplanes, can be trusted just the same in the future.

“As every new transportation system,” Gendron adds “we will have to work with agencies like Transport Canada to certify our product, … and actually the first application might be cargo”

He understands that collaboration must exist between the research and government sectors. Though Gendron, founder and CEO of Transpod, believes cargo and such substances shall be transported through Hyperloop before humans, considering safety precautions, he is already thinking on how to attract the masses.
Their promotional video seen below, revealed at the InnoTrans show, provides a view of the looks and feels of the interior design inside the proposed Hyperloop. Beyond the fact that this thing will travel at about the speed of 1000 kilometers per hour, this Canadian startup shows off functionalities for professionals such as private conference rooms and luxurious-style seating with a realistic natural lighting system.

Essential to the progress of such an innovative proposal is the backing of government and their constituent regulations. According to CEO of Hyperloop Technologies Inc., Rob Lloyd, the prototype will be ready by the year 2017 — now the only question is where. “Where it’s built,” Lloyd adds in an interview with Bloomberg, “depends on how willing regulators are to write new rules instead of changing the old ones” 

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Inside Hyperloop News

The UK hopes to jump on-board with Hyperloop train

Los Angeles to San Francisco in half an hour? Big deal. I raise you an eighteen-minute ride from London to Manchester. Despite the doubters of the post-Brexit future of the United Kingdom, the brains behind Hyperloop publicized their interest in accordance with the government and private companies in regards to developing a landing spot in this region.

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Source: Dailymail UK

According to a report by Wired, Alan James, the VP of Worldwide Business Development at Hyperloop One, suggested there was “quite a strong response” from the government. If the response is strong enough to enforce any action in the foreseeable future is a different question.
The two innovative HTT and Hyperloop One organizations, who are competing to see who will reach the market first, have now linked and are in negotiations with local organizations and authorities in the UK. 

“Innovate UK has taken the lead on that”, says James. “It is joining together the department of Business, Innovation and Skills, and DFT [Department For Transport], to produce a coordinated response to the Hyperloop opportunity.”

Specifically, one option they will discuss entails “making Liverpool, Manchester, and Leeds, effectively a single city,” James continues to make a point of interest in this prospect. The proposed convergence of these cities would cut the travel time and general mayhem of northern England by use of magnetic levitation.
More so, currently, there is some tension between the guiding forces of public transport in the U.K. One such example is between the British National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and the rail’s franchise owner, Govia Thameslink

In an IBTimes UK article, the RMT general secretary claims the union members’ execution of such persistent protests “has been forced on us by the arrogance and inaction of the Govia Thameslink and the government, who have made it clear that they have no interest in resolving this dispute or in tackling the daily chaos on Southern”

Issues of safety and responsibility, as well as the need for a working transport channel (of course) are echoed through these attempts of defiance. It may be possible that Hyperloop’s interference offers an alternative to the current system’s shortcomings in the sector.
The currently planned mode of transport being offered to the common-folk is known as High Speed Two (HS2), which as James quotes, “the most expensive railway project humanity has ever undertaken, on a per-kilometre basis.”
Seeing that London’s population is expected to skyrocket above 10 million by the year 2024, the commuter demand exists and will continue to demand for a railway system which is not only functional but also, and arguably equally important, affordable. The cries of scrutiny, as signaled through this video, should act as motivation for future endeavors.
And who knows, the successful collaboration between the Hyperloop representatives and the local governing bodies of the U.K. may tip the scale amongst the undecided back in favor of U.K.’s bright future.
 

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Inside Hyperloop News

Hyperloop claims levitation is the answer to India's transport woes

Looking past the hopeful developments in Dubai, HTT has chosen their next target: India. What better place to look for increased participation and commitment of the Hyperloop than in one of the world’s fastest developing powerhouses. I mean, the country’s population accounts for almost 18 percent of the world… If that doesn’t ring any bells of opportunity than I am not sure what will.

Mumbai traffic (Image Source: Brett Cole)

There are a few fundamental reasons as to why India appears to be a desirable destination to invest in regards to the future of transport. Firstly, and most importantly, the demand for change most definitely exists, pointed out by The Hindu Business Line earlier this week: 

“Indian Railways, the largest network in Asia is a multi-gauge and multi-traction system with around 66,000 route kilometres. But it is severely capacity-constrained to meet burgeoning demand. While it operates around 12,000 trains carrying 2.3 crore passengers a day, the trains are snail-paced by global standards.”

Whilst the country houses a massive amount of people, there are currently no efficient solutions to the issue of transportation. This goes beyond the mere number of passengers the Indian trains must provide rides for. Think about the density of and the chaos occurring in this situation where Indian roads and railways must co-exist. As talks are on to set up the Hyperloop in India, HTT offers “its promise of limited land acquisition, hyper speed travel, and relatively cheaper fares,” according to their released clip this month seen below.

Another challenge the republic of India faces in regards to transportation is the control and sustainability of energy resources. According to a study released by PwC, India is one of the world leaders in terms of average annual growth rate of emissions. Seeing the increase of their population (and subsequently the demand for vehicles and other modes of transport), India seeks help to find a healthy balance between the supply and demand with their current state of infrastructural inadequacies. 

“While the fuel efficiency of transport vehicles is improving,” the PwC article explains, “the gains are more than offset by increases in vehicle numbers and utilization.”

By the use of linear induction motors and air compressors to propel capsules, Hyperloop may provide a means to India’s optimistic targets for the share of energy from renewable source in consumption. Further, the Hyperloop would be a major decongestant in India’s traffic issue. Let us see how this collaboration plays out…

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Captain America's material is being used to realize Hyperloop

Don’t brush off Hyperloop Transport Technologies just yet. You may have missed a bit of the current event updates coming from the corporation named HTT, which took on the challenge to actualize the Hyperloop concept quite some time ago. This may be due to the increased spotlight coverage of Hyperloop One in recent news because of their large-scale test runs and scandal stories.  Regardless, I am here to keep you in the loop.

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Source: The Verge

Earlier in May of this year, HTT proposed a solution to the transport system based on a passive magnetic levitation system. At the heart of this proposal is a smart material, which you may have read about before in Marvel comic books, known as Vibranium. What is this material exactly? Dirk Ahlborn provides us with some insight:

“Vibranium is a composite material that has some sensor technology as part of it,” he said in an interview earlier this year. “Some news outlets think that sensors are just put in there, but in fact they’re part of the composite. The material is actually smart; it can sense structure integrity, temperature, pressure, etc.”

Apart from its extraterrestrial feature in American comic books, apparently Vibranium may have a genuine application to the development of the Hyperloop. The character of this smart material offers a means for HTT to obtain sensor readings within the Hyperloop capsule in real-time. Furthermore, according to HTT’s video below, Vibranium functions with 10 times the strength of steel and is over 2 times more rigid than aluminum. That being said, it provides a leg up for HTT in terms of safety, which may the greatest obstacle for this whole idea moving forward.

So now that they have the material all set, and experiments are on the way, what is the next threat to entry? No, the answer is not truly money. The answer to this question for Hyperloop would most likely be local and national authorities, and more specifically the regulations set in place.

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Source: Google Images

“There is a team in Slovakia’s government that really wants to help and change the country, and one of the biggest issues that we have is with regulations,” Ahlborn said in an interview. “So having a government that wants to make these things happen is very important. It’s not about funding, funding is the easy part, it’s really about having governmental support.”

Like Hyperloop One, HTT depends on the successful collaboration not only between researchers and innovators world-wide but also between the industrial and administrative worlds. And this is the exact reason why Slovakia seems like such a lucrative destination for HTT to plan their first transportation routes, as evident through their ongoing negotiations to connect Bratislava and Vienna.   
You may be surprised to hear that Slovakia is currently the largest producer of cars per capita in the world. Big name automotive companies such as Volkswagen (maybe not so much recently…), Audi, and Range Rover all have facilities located within Slovakia. It is noteworthy to consider the development and progressiveness of the country as it is now in comparison to how it was over twenty years ago. And it will be important to note how the collaboration between the nation and the Hyperloop concept will cooperate and progress in the coming months.  

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Dubai joins in on the Hyperloop Challenge

The time has come for Hyperloop One to enter into the Dubai territory. As Hyperloop One seeks new collaborations with cities and corporations in order to accelerate the process of bringing their idea to the market, it comes as no surprise to see the lucrative city of Dubai increasing involvement. Specifically, according to Business Insider reports, the Dubai-based and trading focused organization by the name of DP World entails the latest partnership with Hyperloop One.
DP World’s global presence is noteworthy – their marine ports and terminals are located across the most valuable trading regions, including but not limited to, Asia Pacific, Americas, Europe and Russia. One of the integral parts of their business includes the handling of containers. This is where Hyperloop One steps in.

“By eliminating the barriers of time and distance, we believe we can increase the volume of freight DP World moves through the port using a Hyperloop to a new inland depot, which supports more revenue and profit for all stakeholders,” said Rob Lloyd, Hyperloop One’s CEO, in a press statement. “A Hyperloop system fits very seamlessly with existing transportation corridors, minimizing any impact on urban Dubai and reducing freeway congestion and emissions”

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A rendering of a Hyperloop tube within Dubai’s port infrastructure (Image source: Hyperloop One)

Partnering with such an extensive corporation, Hyperloop One may pave its way into new high-growth markets on a macroscopic level. The future of transportation, in congruence with smart cities and alternative energy sources, is a fruitful market in itself. Bravo to Hyperloop One who thought outside the box as they attempt to incorporate underwater transportation with their existing innovative challenges.
The aims of such explorations in the innovative sector is detailed by the Managing Director of Dubai Future Foundation, Mohammed Al Gergawi:

“This [collaboration] will eventually lead to massive global economic growth, and we aim to keep pace with the rapid developments by focusing on smart application of services and innovation in all fields”

Collaborative design event, Build Earth Live issued a challenge to the research community that is to help “shape the future of the Hyperloop.” This contest supplies a platform where researchers may submit their proposals through the cloud during a 48 hour period, all the while community visitors are encouraged to participate. Guess where the newest contest will be hosted? Dubai.

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Have you ever dreamt about travelling underwater?

Checking in first with recent news in feud between Hyperloop One and BamBrogan & Co., Hyperloop One is now filing a counter-lawsuit claiming the four, new defendants… [Brogan BamBrogan, Knut Sauer, David Pendergast and William Mulholland]

“…staged a failed coup to try to take over Hyperloop One and, failing that, conspired to steal our intellectual property and start their own company. They engaged in gross misconduct in pursuit of their illegal plan. They will now be held fully accountable in a court of law. Today’s filing also makes clear that the complaint filed last week was an attempt to divert attention, through lies and half-truths, from the erratic and insurrectionist behavior of these four individuals.”

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Former Hyperloop One co-founder and CTO Brogan BamBrogan (Source: Wired)

Apparently, these employees were dissatisfied with the way Hyperloop One was operating and the means to achieve justice entailed a coup d’etat. I am not sure how this case will unfold, however, one thing I know is that, like any other military or boardroom coup, rivals are formed. From Bambrogan’s perspective, he can hope that not all future work opportunities are lost if this case falls over his shoulders. On the other side, Hyperloop One representatives seek a successful counter-lawsuit in order to reassure investors of their stability and promising future.  

Despite the legal fights, Hyperloop One moves forward. If the idea of the Hyperloop wasn’t extraordinary enough for you til now, I introduce to you one of their newest proposal: the creation of an underwater offshore tunnel to be used for the transportation of cargo.
Peter Diamandis, a Hyperloop One board member and CEO of the X-Prize Foundation, told Business Insider:

“Conceptually, I think one of the things that’s interesting about the future is there’s a lot of underutilized space underground… And I think one of the areas the Hyperloop can become an expert in is tunneling technology in the future.”

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Hyperloop One proposed re-location of cargo ports off-shore (Source: Hexapolis)

Is this possible? Maybe, maybe not. But the benefits from doing such innovation deem great rewards for the society as a whole. First and foremost, it is crucial to note the difference in time it would take to transport loads of cargo through this new tunneling technology. Imagine a world where instead of having to rely on those massive container ships (which were revolutionary for us in the 1970’s), this proposed tunneling technology offers to solve this problem by transporting general cargo at extreme speeds. 
Further advantages of transporting cargo underwater include the creation of space on-shore for more real-estate opportunities and the potential to build greater public amenities. I envision that going from city A to city B in an underwater tube would be the closest thing to a Disneyland version ride for adults.
In order for any of these concepts to prevail against the test of time, Hyperloop One must use collaboration of the public and its constituents, which is exactly what they have been doing up until now.

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Inside Hyperloop News

Will the trial derail Hyperloop One?

Coming in hot into the 2nd episode to this “What’s Happening with the Loop?” series with a news update on Hyperloop One’s legal situation. A few facts are essential to know moving forward.
The defendants include three of the co-founders for this corporation – Shervin Pishevar, Joe Lonsdale, Robert Lloyd –  who are all distinguished figures with considerable backing in the tech industry. On the other side of the court sits the co-founder and former CTO for the same company, Kevin Brogan (A.K.A. Brogan BamBrogan), now alleging the defendants’ breaches of fiduciary duty and mistreatment of employees and more.
As reported by Recode, in a letter  sent via e-mail to the CEO’s, a group of senior employees detailing:

“…the disproportionate influence that the current ownership structure provides to [Shervin and Joe], especially in light of how they have used that influence, represents a threat to the success of this great company. We feel compelled to act in an effort to protect the best interests of the team, the company and the shareholders.”

According to the case files, BamBrogan seeks just compensation for those who are the brains behind the project in accordance with the current allowance for the VC’s of Hyperloop One. BamBrogan often is depicted as being quite the character, so I suggest you keep posted as the drama ensues into an original telenovela series featured within the tech industry network… 
However, Hyperloop One, evidently unfazed by these allegations, recently claimed the “world’s first Hyperloop factory is open for business” as a sign of a promising future.

“Having a world-class machine shop allows us to move more of our production and manufacturing R&D in-house so we can learn at maximum speed how to drive down the cost of delivering Hyperloop One technology.”

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Source: Hyperloop One

Located in the uninhabited northern part of Nevada, Hyperloop One Metalworks may appear to be an ordinary plant-structure from distance but a closer look will testament the flowering of what may be our future mode of transportation. The benefits of an in-house production site, specifically crucial for this project, include increased flexibility, freedom, and quality customization.

Hyperloop One project should create an influx of manufacturing jobs and more so that these employees have an experience of 21st century innovation first-hand. For example, take a look at this video showing off some of the cool technology operating within the factory on a daily basis.  
Already by the second week of this blogpost series, we delve into the fantasy world of the Hyperloop concept and say: it’s so crazy it just might work