Where Rail & Aerospace Meet: TransPod Hyperloop could replace the 10,000 trucks that transport cargo between the two cities daily, greatly reducing greenhouse gas emissions along that route!
Since Elon Musk first proposed the idea of a Hyperloop in 2013, several attempts have been made by various developers to make it a reality. One Canadian company believes that the Hyperloop is no longer a moonshot, and they want a chance to convince the rest of the world that they’re right.
Sebastian Gendron, CEO and founder of Toronto-based startup TransPod, believes that most of the technology needed to make this revolutionary idea real is already available. “Some have been developed for the aerospace industry, some for the rail industry. So it’s really a matter of putting everything together and [building] it and [getting] it approved by agencies like Transport Canada and use it,” says Gendron in an interview with Day 6 host Brent Bambury.
TransPod’s Hyperloop could cover the 500-km (311-mile) distance between Toronto and Montreal in just 30 minutes
TransPod plans to build a Hyperloop traveling between Toronto and Montreal, covering the 500-km (311-mile) distance in just 30 minutes. That means the Canadian Hyperloop is expected to move at 1,000 km/h (621 mph).
Zooming Past Difficulties
The Hyperloop is seen as transportation for the future, not just because it looks like it’s straight from sci-fi, but because of its energy efficiency potential. According to Gendron, 10,000 trucks transport cargo between Montreal and Toronto every day, sometimes taking up to a full day to make a one-way trip. He claims TransPod could make that same trip in just 60 minutes, greatly reducing greenhouse gas emissions along that route.
Multiply that by the vast number of busy land transport routes worldwide, and you can start to see how the advent of Hyperloops could have a huge positive impact on the environment.
Cargo is just the first step, though, as the goal is to eventually transport people quickly and safely, and Gendron is aware that the effect of fast transport on the human body should be carefully reviewed. That’s nothing that couldn’t be taken care of with a bit more research and funding, though, which is why Gendron presented TransPod at InnoTrans, the world’s largest transportation trade show, last month.
TransPod looks to have the technology working, at least for cargo transport, no later than 2025, so now they just need to get financial backers and convince the industry (and Canada) that their Hyperloop is a great and feasible idea.
What are the chances of seeing Hyperloop Train Systems in India in the near future?
When Elon Musk talks about something, it is always a good idea to listen. More so, if he is talking about a futuristic transportation system. Musk presented a white paper on the Hyperloop technology which envisions moving people and goods at very high speeds inside tubes in capsules with the aid of linear induction motors and air compressors. Hyperloop Transportation Technology (HTT) was the first company to jump on the bandwagon and began working on a Hyperloop transportation system that would be commercially viable. The company was founded in 2014 by Jumpstarter Inc.
We’re Looking At India As Our First Few Target Markets: Hyperloop Company – Joel Michael, Chief Global Operations Director – Middle East, Africa, Asia & Australia at Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc
HTT COO Bibop Gresta and Chief Global Operation Director of Middle East & Asia Joel Micheal are visiting India for the i5 Summit that will be held at the Indian Institute of Management, Indore. We spoke with them about Hyperloop, HTT, and India’s transportation system.
When people talk about HTT they assume that it is an Elon Musk company.
Yes, we get that a lot of times! Hyperloop Transportation Technology is a separate company. Sure, when we founded our company we went to Musk and talked about implementation possibilities and faults of the white paper he had produced. And it was a fruitful talk. He guided us on how to overcome challenges of a certain nature.
There is a lot of confusion regarding Hyperloop One And Hyperloop Transportation Technology. Your thoughts?
We are totally different from them [Hyperloop One]. We don’t want to do press events, or to have shows in the desert for demos. We are actually building a solution suggested by the Livermore Corporation years ago. We want to commercialise Hyperloop, not just present it as a science experiment.
They have been badmouthing us for a long time, claiming that they are the only Hyperloop company out there. They have great potential and this technology has a lot of space for the necessary competition. If they concentrate on solutions more, it’d be great.
How do you identify as a company?
We are a bunch of people collaborating. Rather than salaries we give stock options. And our investors are not just people who provide money. They can provide tools also. Software, hardware, test tracks, spaces anything.
Hyperloop Transportation Technology believes in collaboration. We don’t want to gloat about our investments. We want to work hard and make the world a better place.
In terms of implementation of Hyperloop, what are you doing?
We have a total of three centres where most of the research and test work is being carried out. More than 200 people are working in the US, Dubai, and in Bratislava in Slovakia.
AECOM is providing us engineering assistance to build our tracks. Our aim is to build a model of 8 km in Quay Valley, California. We are using Inductrack technology for our tracks which uses Maglev concepts.
What do you think of India and Hyperloop?
India is a very interesting country. It has a great railway network already. Hyperloop implementation would need a bit of modification but it is doable. And the technology is a perfect fit for the country as well. With a high population count, it makes more sense.
Optimum use of of Hyperloop would mean that a capsule would come to a station every 7 minutes. Each capsule has a capacity of 3,400 people. Imagine how many people a day can be transported every time.
Are you already considering implementation here?
Yes, why not. We are in talks with the Indian government, investors and other regulators. I think there is a great opportunity here. I met Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visited Silicon Valley and the response was very positive.
Although, India needs a better infrastructure. The government needs to invest more into education and technology to improve that.
In the long run, the Hyperloop ecosystem is such that it will make a profit. So, it doesn’t need to be subsidised. Even private investors can put their money into it.
At the i5 Summit, you might make some investments. What kind of startups you are looking at?
Bibop Gresta: Right now our focus is on Hyperloop. So anyone who can provide us engineering or technical assistance will catch our eyes, be it in terms of software, mechanical, aerodynamics or even an idea that lives with the ecosystem of Hyperloop.
Joel Micheal: The i5 summit is one of the largest in India, featuring more than a 1,000 startups. We look forward to engaging with the vibrant startup community and entrepreneurial talent [so as] to have them join the movement in bringing the Hyperloop to India very soon.
Hyperloop is a costly technology to build, that will take a lot of effort. How do you think this will affect the environment?
Joel Micheal: The technology gives you back more rather than taking it. We rely on renewable energy and natural resources. Our plan is to use solar plates and wind energy. The landowner who would provide us space will gain in terms of clear roads and an ecosystem built around it.
What is the future of transportation?
Joel Micheal: Public transport will be much easier. We at HTT do a bunch of data mining to give suggestions to the government on how to improve customer experience while even earning money. We have carried out some projects in the US where if a cost of the ticket was $1, the government could earn $4-8 through ads and offers in the ticket booking app. And if the government can earn more, prices of tickets will be going down soon.
When can we see Hyperloop in action?
Joel Micheal: In February, we got our permission for our Quay Valley track. We have started the environmental study and within 30 months we will see something great taking place. I am sure that within a decade we will see many commercial Hyperloop implementations.