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Elon Musk-inspired hyperloop tech startup HTT eyes India as one of its first target markets

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Hyperloop Transportation Technologies(HTT), an American startup working on the revolutionary idea to speedily shoot passengers from one city to another could be making its way to the Indian sub-continent sooner than anyone could expect. The startup is currently looking at India as one of its first prospective markets and as a source of technology talent, said a senior company executive familiar with the development.

In an email statement received by ET, Joel Michael, the chief global operations director of HTT said that the company will start conversations with the government authorities to access all available opportunities for setting up operations and bringing Hyperloop to the country. He also added that he, along with HTT’s Chief Operating Officer Bibop Gresta will be travelling to Indore to attend the i5 summit next week.

Imagine Chennai to Bengaluru in less than 30 minutes for a fraction of the cost of air travel today,

he says.

The idea of using vacuum tube-shaped modules(or pods) to transport passenger at 800 mph from city to city was first proposed by Elon Musk in 2013. He, who is a busy man, laid down the basic concept of the technologies in a white paper and made it public for anyone to adopt and develop on the same.

Since then, two key players — HTT and Hyperloop One — have been aggressively spending time to build their individual technologies and perfect their mechanisms for large-scale commercial deployment. And today we are discussing the possibilities of India becoming a testing ground for HTT’s high-speed capsule pods. In addition to the market in the country, the company is also looking for collaborators who can contribute to their ambitious project.

India stepping into the Age of Hyperloop means tremendous opportunities for Indian talent,

adds Gresta.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies(HTT) is a research company assembled by CEO Dirk Ahlborn using a crowd collaboration approach. With the hopes to become the future of United States transportation system, he assembled a crowd-sourced team of engineers and researchers using the online crowd-sourcing platform JumptStartFund.

Each individual who was willing to put in at least 10 hours of work each week, would receive a small equity in the company instead of a regular pay. And the idea kind-of worked as it attracted individuals from the likes of NASA, Boeing, SpaceX and Tesla. The company has also attracted interest from over 600 investors since its induction in 2013.

After breaking ground in the beginning of 2016, the company is currently focused on building a five mile(8 km) test track in Quay Valley, California. With a top speed of 1,200 km per hour, the track is expected to be completed by early 2019. And as Elon Musk has always preached, HTT is also looking to keep operational costs low by relying heavily on renewable tech and kinetic energy.

It estimates that the ticket price for a 500 km journey is expected to be as low as $30(or Rs. 2,000). Also, the company believes that a single tube-track will be able to carry over 144,000 passenger daily at 40 second intervals.

The company also works on the development of highspeed semi-urban trains and has recently partnered with Deutsche Bahn to implement the tech it will be using in its hyperloops in conventional trains and create an “Innovation Train”. They will come with interactive on-window panels that detect passengers and interact with them, offering up real-time info including news, current time, weather and route info.

A hands-on guy fascinated by new apps, technologies and enterprise products.

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