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All you need to know about India’s first bullet train with 350 km/hr top speed

India's first bullet train is expected to be ready by 2022.

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Japan has also offered its Shinkansen bullet train technology which is among the fastest in the world. Wikimedia Common
Japan has also offered its Shinkansen bullet train technology which is among the fastest in the world. Wikimedia Common
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NEW DELHI: After many years of tussle, India is finally on its way to get high-speed rail transportation in the form of the bullet train. A couple of months back, Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe has inked a deal for India’s first high-speed bullet train. The project was inaugurated near the Sabarmati River which will run between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

Japan has mastered the art of high-speed rail networks and will be extending full support to India. The crux of it can be taken out from the fact that since the beginning of Bullet trains in Japan, there is not even a single incident of an accident. Japan has also offered its Shinkansen bullet train technology which is among the fastest in the world.

India will be importing 24 high-speed trains from the Japan and rest will be manufactured in India. Wikimedia Commons
India will be importing 24 high-speed trains from the Japan and rest will be manufactured in India. Wikimedia Commons

With the approval of the Bullet train project, the government claims to revolutionize the whole railway infrastructure. But at the same time, critics have started raising a lot of questions regarding the safety-related issues of new this project. As Indian railways have already gone through a number of derailments incident in the recent past which have resulted in the loss of human lives. So, it would be better to revamp the existing structure rather than betting for new projects.

But now as the Bullet train has got the approval from the government’s side, it would be interesting to see the train journey to reach a whole new horizon. The highlight of the project goes as under:

• The project which is expected to be completed by 2022 will cover a stretch of 508 km and run at a maximum speed of 350 km per hour. The distance is supposed to be covered stretch in less than three hours.
• For the convenience of the customers, there will be two options on the offer:
a. High-speed: This option will take you to the destination in 2.58 hours.
b. Rapid high-speed: This option will take lesser time as compared to the other and will cover the distance in 2.07 hours.
• There is an estimated cost of Rs1,10,000 crore for the 508-km Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Project. Japan will be aiding the project with a soft loan of Rs 88,000 crore and the grace period will of 15 years. Moreover, the time period for repayment of the loan will be for 50 years and the interest rate would be as low as 0.1%. The total cost of the project will be collectively borne by Indian Railways, Maharashtra and Gujarat governments.

Bullet train project will generate around 15 lakh new jobs. Wikimedia Commons
Bullet train project will generate around 15 lakh new jobs. Wikimedia Commons

• The presently proposed stations will include Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad, and Sabarmati.
• As per the reports of the railway ministry, the Bullet train will be zooming at the speed of 320 kilometers per hour and maximum speed will clock at 350 kilometers per hour. Thus, with the given speed, the train would take 2 hours and 58 minutes.
• According to the drafted plan, Bullet train will make70 rides to and fro from Ahmedabad to Mumbai a day.
• India will be importing 24 high-speed trains from the Japan and rest will be manufactured in India.
• High-speed train corridor will include an elevated, underground and undersea tunnel. The train will be running 21 kilometers underground and out of that there will be 7 kilometers travel under the sea.
• The Bullet train will be serving around 1300 passenger at one go with it’s 10 and 16 coaches and will have a business and standard class with prices comparable with the base AC 2-tier fare of the Rajdhani Express.

The Bullet Train will have business and standard class. Wikimedia Commons
The Bullet Train will have business and standard class. Wikimedia Commons

• Indian Railways and National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited will be taking care of the provided services in the Bullet Train.
• The project will need around 825 hectares of land with the construction of tunnels between Boisar and BKC in Mumbai.
• The proposed employment from the Bullet train project will generate around 15 lakh new jobs which will include about 4,000 technical staff.
• The next project of Indian Railways will include a high-speed train from Delhi to Amritsar via Chandigarh. The estimated route will be of 458 km long and will take around 2 hours and 30 minutes to run the entire distance.

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Japan Government Visions To Get Flying Cars In The Near Future

The devices might need parachutes to soften crash landings, or might have to explode into small bits to ensure pieces hitting the ground would be smaller.

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Flying Car
Fumiaki Ebihara, the flying-car chief at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, speaks during a interview with the Associated Press in Tokyo, Sept. 4, 2018. The Japanese government has started a “flying car” project, bringing together more than a dozen companies, including All Nippon Airways, electronics company NEC, Toyota-backed startup Cartivator and Uber, the ride-hailing service. VOA

Electric drones booked through smartphones pick people up from office rooftops, shortening travel time by hours, reducing the need for parking and clearing smog from the air.

This vision of the future is driving the Japanese government’s “flying car” project. Major carrier All Nippon Airways, electronics company NEC Corp. and more than a dozen other companies and academic experts hope to have a road map ready by the year’s end.

“This is such a totally new sector Japan has a good chance for not falling behind,” said Fumiaki Ebihara, the government official in charge of the project.

Nobody believes people are going to be zipping around in flying cars any time soon. Many hurdles remain, such as battery life, the need for regulations and, of course, safety concerns. But dozens of similar projects are popping up around the world. The prototypes so far are less like traditional cars and more like drones big enough to hold people.

 

Flying Car
The Flying Car as depicted outside the Porsche museum. Flickr

 

A flying car is defined as an aircraft that’s electric, or hybrid electric, with driverless capabilities, that can land and takeoff vertically.

They are often called EVtol, which stands for “electric vertical takeoff and landing” aircraft.

The flying car concepts promise to be better than helicopters, which are expensive to maintain, noisy to fly and require trained pilots, Ebihara and other proponents say.

“You may think of ‘Back to the Future,’ ‘Gundam,’ or ’Doraemon,’” Ebihara said, referring to vehicles of flight in a Hollywood film and in Japanese cartoons featuring robots. “Up to now, it was just a dream, but with innovations in motors and batteries, it’s time for it to become real.”

Google, drone company Ehang and car manufacturer Geely in China, and Volkswagen AG of Germany have invested in flying car technology.

Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. said they had nothing to say about flying cars, but Toyota Motor Corp. recently invested $500 million in working with Uber on self-driving technology for the ride-hailing service. Toyota group companies have also invested 42.5 million yen ($375,000) in a Japanese startup, Cartivator, that is working on a flying car.

Flying Car
The hope is to fly up and light the torch at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but it’s unclear it will meet that goal. Flickr

The hope is to fly up and light the torch at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but it’s unclear it will meet that goal: At a demonstration last year, the device crashed after it rose to slightly higher than eye level. A video of a more recent demonstration suggests it’s now flying more stably, though it’s being tested indoors, unmanned and chained so it won’t fly away.

There are plenty of skeptics.

Elon Musk, chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Inc., says even toy drones are noisy and blow a lot of air, which means anything that would be “1,000 times heavier” isn’t practical.

“If you want a flying car, just put wheels on a helicopter,” he said in a recent interview with podcast host and comedian Joe Rogan on YouTube. “Your neighbors are not going to be happy if you land a flying car in your backyard or on your rooftop.”

Flying Car
Elon Musk, chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Inc., says even toy drones are noisy and blow a lot of air. Pixabay

Though the Japanese government has resisted Uber’s efforts to offer ride-hailing services in Japan, limiting it to partnerships with taxi companies, it has eagerly embraced the U.S. company’s work on EVtol machines.

Uber says it is considering Tokyo as its first launch city for affordable flights via its UberAir service. It says Los Angeles and Dallas, Texas, and locations in Australia, Brazil, France and India are other possible locations.

Unlike regular airplanes, with their aerodynamic design and two wings, Uber’s “Elevate” structures look like small jets with several propellers on top. The company says it plans flight demonstrations as soon as 2020 and a commercial service by 2023.

Uber’s vision calls for using heliports on rooftops, but new multi-floored construction similar to parking lots for cars will likely be needed to accommodate EVtol aircraft if the service takes off.

Flying Car
The Toyota logo is seen on a car in Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 2, 2017. Toyota has said it will make automatic emergency braking standard on nearly all its U.S. models by the end of 2017. (VOA)

Unmanned drones are legal in Japan, the U.S. and other countries, but there are restrictions on where they can be flown and requirements for getting approval in advance. In Japan, drone flyers can be licensed if they take classes. There is no requirement like drivers licenses for cars.

Flying passengers over populated areas would take a quantum leap in technology, overhauling aviation regulations and air traffic safety controls, along with major efforts both to ensure safety and convince people it’s safe.

Uber said at a recent presentation in Tokyo that it envisions a route between the city’s two international airports, among others.

“This is not a rich person’s toy. This is a mass market solution,” said Adam Warmoth, product manager at Uber Elevate.

Concepts for flying cars vary greatly. Some resemble vehicles with several propellers on top while others look more like a boat with a seat over the propellers.

Flying Car
Toyota Motor Corp. recently invested $500 million in working with Uber on self-driving technology for the ride-hailing service.

Ebihara, the flying-car chief at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, says Japan is on board for “Blade Runner” style travel — despite its plentiful, efficient and well developed public transportation.

Japan’s auto and electronics industries have the technology and ability to produce super-light materials that could give the nation an edge in the flying car business, he said.

Just as the automobile vanquished horse-drawn carriages, moving short-distance transport into the air could in theory bring a sea change in how people live, Ebihara said, pointing to the sky outside the ministry building to stress how empty it was compared to the streets below.

Flying also has the allure of a bird’s eye view, the stuff of drone videos increasingly used in filmmaking, tourism promotion and journalism.

Flying car
Nobody believes people are going to be zipping around in flying cars any time soon, but Japan has a vision. Flickr

Atsushi Taguchi, a “drone grapher,” as specialists in drone video are called, expects test flights can be carried out even if flying cars won’t become a reality for years since the basic technology for stable flying already exists with recent advances in sensors, robotics and digital cameras.

A growing labor shortage in deliveries in Japan is adding to the pressures to realize such technology, though there are risks, said Taguchi, who teaches at the Tokyo film school Digital Hollywood.

The propellers on commercially sold drones today are dangerous, and some of his students have lost fingers with improper flying. The bigger propellers needed for vertical flight would increase the hazards and might need to be covered.

Also Read: Japanese Major Canon Unveils its First Full-Frame Mirror less Camera

The devices might need parachutes to soften crash landings, or might have to explode into small bits to ensure pieces hitting the ground would be smaller.

“I think one of the biggest hurdles is safety,” said Taguchi. “And anything that flies will by definition crash.” (VOA)