IIT students build Avishkar Hyperloop; win over E. Musk

Article by Aditee based on inputs by Meeta

Avishkar Hyperloop , the student team from the Centre For Innovation (CFI) at IIT Madras won the hearts of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Virgin Hyperloop One Co-founder Josh Geigel with their project that can help build an autonomous Hyperloop Pod in India. Avishkar was one of the top 21 teams to be selected out of over 1,600 teams globally.

The project is lead by Suyash Singh, a second-year M.Tech student at the department of mechanical engineering. The team works with a vision to develop technologies for future mode of high-speed transportation with applications in various fields, including defence, logistics and aerospace industry, among others.

“The team has taken strenuous technical efforts at every stage and has been quite professional about executing the project. This is an important milestone for the future transportation technology in our country,” S.R. Chakravarthy, Faculty Advisor, Avishkar Hyperloop, and Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT Madras, told IANS.

Earlier, the Indian team visited Virgin Hyperloop One’s facility in Los Angeles and took a tour. 

Virgin Hyperloop One Co-founder and CTO Geigel met the team and discussed the company’s plans to create a Hyperloop network in India and shared the progress on the Pune-Mumbai Hyperloop project. Virgin Hyperloop One tweeted: “The student hyperloop team stopped by our Los Angeles headquarters to learn more about our progress in India. Always encouraging to see the next generation of thinkers embracing this transformative technology!”.

Virgin Hyperloop One has proposed a plan that will help people to travel from Mumbai to Pune under 30 minutes. 

The work on the project is likely to begin by December this year and completed by 2023.

The primary factor to decide the winner is the top speed achieved by the Hyperloop Pod in the run in the one-mile long vacuum tube, installed at the SpaceX headquarters.

T he first step was to select powerful motors that could provide the required traction and a source to power it. The students searched through numerous motors and controllers and a vacuum compatible battery pack, which would best suit the design and constraints. Simultaneously came the challenge of analysing every change in the other subsystems so that it could accommodate the change in speed, mass, forces etc.

Once they reach a level to commercialise the project, the students plan to set up a start-up as commercialising such a heavy infrastructure project would not be possible without the support of the government and various stakeholders. 

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