Team Avishkar Hyperloop of IIT Madras has made rapid strides since it became the debut finalist and the only Asian team to qualify for the finals of SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition 2019. The American aerospace manufacturer, SpaceX, organises the competition.
Hyperloop is the 5th mode of transportation, a high-speed train that travels in a near-vacuum tube. The reduced air resistance allows the capsule inside the tube to reach more than 1,000 km/h. Elon Musk proposed Hyperloop to the world in 2013 through a whitepaper – ‘Hyperloop Alpha.’
Avishkar Hyperloop is the student team from Centre For Innovation (CFI), IIT Madras, which is working on an indigenous design and development of a self-propelled, completely autonomous Hyperloop Pod in India. The team is working with a vision to develop technologies for future modes of high-speed transportation with applications in various fields, including defence, logistics and aerospace industry, among others.
Team Avishkar was one of the Top 21 teams out of more than 1,600 teams participating globally in this event.
Despite the challenges from the pandemic and the lockdowns, the 40 students of the team collaborated on this Hyperloop pod development from their homes to completely revamp the pods’ sub-systems with scalable and efficient technologies. The team has manufactured a Hyperloop Pod Prototype in the past few months and tested the novel technology. As a result, it qualified for the European Hyperloop Week, being held in Valencia, Spain, starting today. The team participates virtually due to the pandemic-related travel restrictions.
Deloitte India is supporting Avishkar Hyperloop this year. With its’ vision to support innovation and technologies that drive sustainable societal change, Deloitte India has provided crucial support to the team’s efforts towards the European Hyperloop Week competition.
Hyperloop has been a buzzword in India for the last few years. Several companies have proposed routes like Mumbai-Pune and Chandigarh-Amritsar. After an initial study, Team Avishkar is working on a detailed study of energy, costs, demand and other business aspects for a Hyperloop corridor between Bangalore and Chennai to assess the economic feasibility of Hyperloop in India.
Team Avishkar estimates the travel time between the city pair to reduce to a mere 30-minute ride from the current six-hour journey by car or train.
S R Chakravarthy, Faculty Advisor, Avishkar Hyperloop, said, “This is an exciting outcome in trying times, where the students have shown their mettle and verve in accomplishing against odds. Nowhere have I seen a student group clock so much IP material on hyperloop in such a short time. It holds great promise for India.”
Neel Balar, Team Avishkar Lead and Third Year Student, Department of Engineering Design, IIT Madras, said, “Our research has yielded many technological breakthroughs such as the linear induction motor for propulsion, teams’ proprietary levitation technology, and contactless magnetic braking system, among others.
Kishan Thakkar, Team Avishkar Lead and Fourth Year Student, Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, IIT Madras, said creating tubes and pylons takes about 70% of the total budget of the Hyperloop corridor. “Our research is focused mainly on reducing the cost of this infrastructure and adapting the Hyperloop to the needs of the Indian subcontinent.