A guest lecture on India’s first Hyperloop functional pod prototype was held on 9th January, 2017.  The speaker for the event was Mr. Hussain Harianawala who was part of the team and is also pursuing his graduation from Symbiosis School of Economics.

Mr. Hussain is part of the team which has won laurels as the only Indian team and to be qualified for the SpaceX’s Hyperloop 1 competition. He started off by stating that the current 21st century is the momentous time to be alive because of so many transformations and innovations happening around us. He started of stating that the transportation system developed defines the face of the country.  Because of the perils faced by the commuters and lack of efficiencies nationwide due to transport industry hampers the growth of the country.

He also gave a background on the concept of Hyperloop. The Hyperloop concept was proposed by billionaire inventor Elon Musk, CEO of the aerospace firm SpaceX and the guy behind Tesla. This is concept, in which commuters are whisked through a tube at speeds in excess of 700mph, has developed rapidly with inventors and investors giving their backing. He explained in layman’s term it is a transport system which will have a travelling speed of a plane, the size of a car and the price of transport same as that of a bus ticket.

The SpaceX along with Elon Musk had a competition organized to attract all the technology enthusiasts and to bring out the best in the technology. The team named ‘Hyperloop India’ was formed in 2015 with three engineers from BITS Pilani to design Orcapod, which is a prototype that they presented for the Hyperloop global competition. But they soon realized that just making the vehicle is not enough but making something which is feasible, sustainable and scalable is the key.

The team started off as an engineering unit at BITS’s Pilani and then soon spread out to other institutes which led to the multidisciplinary team from IIT Bombay, IIM, Indian School of Business, Symbiosis and National Institute of Design. They recruited a team which had people from diverse educational background like HR, management, economics and design.

The team together started off their journey post 2016 at Peenya in Bangalore, where they presented their idea at the Railway Conclave attended by the then Railway Minister Mr. Suresh Prabhu. The team faced many hurdles on their journey towards the competition for getting the funding on time, the logistics issue while shipping their prototype to US and dissembling and reassembling the prototype just on time for the competition.

But all their hard work paid off. They were the only team from India to have been shortlisted and only also amongst the only top two countries from Asia; the other country being Japan. Though they did not win the competition, team India was the most appreciated team amongst all the competitors for the design of the pod and for being the most economical solution. The competitors were from the renowned Ivy League institutes like Harvard, Warton, and from countries like Japan, South America.

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He ended the session by stating that India being a developing nation has a potential to adapt and invest in the cutting-edge technology and suggested all the students to at least have a day in a week for introspection about their interest.  They have already started the work on the second prototype which is more efficient than the previous design and also plan on building a test track for the pod since there is only one test track available and that is in US which will help other teams to test their prototypes from all over the world.

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