Following a recent visit to Elon Musk’s Tesla electric car factory in California, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed interest in a less mature but potentially more groundbreaking idea: Hyperloop. Musk, the founder of companies such as SpaceX and Tesla, released an open-source proposal for the new mode of transportation in 2013. Essentially a levitating train car traveling through a tube in near vacuum conditions, Hyperloop technology could make in minutes trips that normally take hours.
Over the past three years, a handful of companies has taken the idea and run with it. But despite interest and investment, enough physical and technical hurdles remain that implementation of such a system is years, possibly even decades, away. Should Hyperloop come to fruition, it has the potential to shape geopolitical relationships and behaviors of nations like other transportation methods that came before it. India’s prime minister is evidently optimistic about the technology, as are leaders from a number of other nations. But should they be?