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Chennai, NFA Post: Electric vehicle maker Tesla is likely to enter the Indian market within a year. When Indian Institute of Technology Madras’ (IIT M) Avishkar Hyperloop Team asked Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk about his plans to bring Tesla to India, he told them that “it is probably going to happen in a year’s time”.

In November last year, Elon Musk had tweeted about the expansion plans of the company and he had mentioned about partial presence in India in 2019 and broader expansion in 2020.

Avishkar Team was the only Asian team to qualify for the finals of Space X Hyperloop Pod Competition 2019, a global competition organised by SpaceX, the American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation company. Avishkar was one of the Top 21 teams out of 1600 teams participating globally in the event.

The final round (testing and evaluation of the actual prototype), took place at the SpaceX Headquarters in California, US, recently, and the team cleared half of the more than 120 tests held during the final round, placing itself over several other finalists from various countries, a release from IIT M said.

The team interacted with Elon Musk and explained their ideas to him. He also told them that this year’s finals featured only a 1.25 km vacuum tube, the next year will probably feature a 10-km vacuum tube with a turn, which will be more challenging. When the team asked Musk

While it did not make it to the top four teams this year, the students of Avishkar Hyperloop gained exposure during their first-ever final that will help them in the coming editions of this event.

Avishkar Hyperloop is the student team from the Centre For Innovation (CFI) – IIT Madras, which is working on an indigenous design and development for building the first-ever self-propelled, completely autonomous Hyperloop Pod in India. Select teams built a subscale prototype transport vehicle to demonstrate the technical feasibility of the various aspects of the Hyperloop concept during the finals.

Congratulating the team on their performance, SR Chakravarthy, Faculty Advisor, Avishkar Hyperloop, and Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT Madras, said, “For the faculty mentors, Prof. Muruganandam and I, it was like having sent astronauts to the moon and staying back at mission control on earth! We had our share of spending night long sessions and intense conversations over the internet during the competition. At one point, our team was positioned 8th and were looking to forge ahead towards the top 5, but couldn’t succeed in the end. It’s a valiant effort, and we hope to better ourselves and come up on top the next time. And, alongside, we would be focusing on developing this technology for India, beyond 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 speeds of more than 1000 km/h. Elon Musk proposed the idea of Hyperloop to the world in 2013 through whitepaper – ‘Hyperloop Alpha.’ His company SpaceX organises the Hyperloop Pod Competition to accelerate the development of functional prototypes and encourage student innovation.

The Pod developed by Avishkar Team spans about three metres in length and weighed around 120 kgs. The electric propulsion employs BLDC motors and a wheel drive. The team started the design by brainstorming on how the pod would be built, beginning with vehicle kinematics and dynamics, motors, power system and braking, stability, and finally designing the CFRP chassis and structures.

After the competition, Avishkar plans to attempt incorporating the magnetic levitation into the pod. The students will be working more until they reach a good enough speed for hyperloop, after which they can make changes accordingly for the payload and actual operating situations and start testing on the track which is currently being built.

An open-air track is ready, on which the team has already tested their Pod. They will now be working on building a vacuum tube around, and testing it further, which might take one more year to get developed, the release added.


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