Bibop talks about the reason for delay of their project in India, their rivalry with Hyperloop One, Make in India and the future of jobs.
In an exclusive interaction with ETtech, Bibop G. Gresta, Chairman, Co-Founder atHyperloop Transportation Technologiestalks about the reason for delay of their project in India, their rivalry with Hyperloop One, Make in India and the future of jobs.
What’s the cause of delay for Hyperloop Transportation Technologies to start operations in India?
I don’t know where the confusion lies. In the recent past I have met Shri. PM, Narendra Modi and Shri. Nitin Gadkari. I have even met minister delegation from Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha. I don’t know which ministry our project will finally fall under.
There is a need to create regulation or framework if HTT needs to succeed in India. Our project has similarities with railways and even aviation industry. We are the fifth mode of transportation. This matter needs decision. We cannot start construction without regulation. If the current regulation does not cover us, there is need to discuss this matter.
Also we are opening up an office in Bangalore. We will announce new partnerships in the coming weeks. I have also been visiting India more frequently to get this technology rolling.
Last time around you told me “Forget Bullet train,Hyperloop is the future”. But will you be able to create jobs just like Indian railways do?
By 2050, we will lose 40% of all jobs at the planet level. We need to re think our society. If we continue to work for 8 hours a day, we are going to self destroy us. We need to talk about redistribution of resources and go towards universal Basic income.
With Hyperloop, you can make profit. People might work less but we will create more skilled jobs. We are going to create an entire new industry so I think it’s important to create good jobs.
What about your competition Hyperloop One?
We have approached them several times with goodwill and we saw hostility. They said they are the real one and are throwing doubts at us. While they are still testing in the middle of the desert, we have already built a full scale model of our levitation and propulsion technology.
We should sit down and talk about regulation because that’s the need of the hour. They also are painting a war where it is not. Its delusional to think this is a war and there will be one player developing a Hyperloop. They should innovate instead of continuously copying what we do.
Has anything come up in other markets?
We are at a stage of very advanced feasibility studies to build the first one in Abu Abu Dhabi. The first one is not going be in India unless some strange miracle happens. We have five nations on board right now. We are discussing with Toulouse government in France about a substantial grant and tax cut up to 40 million dollars. We just completed the order for tubes there.
There will also be centres in Slovakia, UAE and California. I hope India will have a platform soon. We are also partnering with a Spanish company who will manufacture the capsule.
Does HTT believe in Make in India?
I believe in using local partners. A glo-cal approach always works. If the resources are present locally why not use it. I think Make in India is doable and will happen because you have the resources. Likewise the same thing is not possible in America.
The technology behind Hyperloop has been there since 1995 and yet we are to see a full scale deployment for the same. Why?
The technology remained classified for many years. The research labs have thousand of patents which can change humanity but they are on shelf. If it wasn’t for Richard post to explain us and to point us in the right direction, it would have been difficult for us to do the right thing because lot of times, you can read the patent but cannot understand its impact if you don’t speak with the right mentor.
Do the government officials still mistake you for Elon Musk?
No more (laughs). I am younger. But I wish to have his brain.
Author: Aritra Sarkhel