The Future of High Speed Transportation: Dr. Anita Sengupta

In the global marketplace that transfers knowledge at the speed of light, we have a massive time delay and that is modern transportation methods. The Virgin Hyperloop is the first new mode of transport to be created in over 100 years. The motivation is to connect people, reduce congestion, and protect our planet by eliminating CO2 emissions from ground-based transport. The hyperloop can best be described as space travel on the ground – a magnetically levitating, electromagnetically propelled, passenger vehicle in a vacuum tube. With the elimination of aerodynamic drag and surface friction, power consumption plummets, speeds can reach 700 mph, and waste and cost are minimized. With the use of autonomy the service is on demand, and delays become a thing of the past.

This year at BILT NA, we are proud to announce our Keynote Speaker, is Dr. Anita Sengupta, Senior Vice President of Virgin Hyperloop One whom We had the chance to ask a few questions in the lead up to BILT NA, to discover a little bit more about her and her thoughts on the industry.

An explorer by heart and engineer by training, Dr. Anita Sengupta is a rocket scientist and veteran of the space program who for the past 20 years has been developing spacecraft and propulsion technologies that have enabled the exploration of Mars, Asteroids, and deep space. In her spare time, Anita enjoys being a pilot, scuba diver, motorcyclist, and mountain biker. She also enjoys travelling around the planet to see ancient archaeological sites and natural wonders. Inside the work environment, she uses her skills and intellectual curiosity as a scientist to seek out new challenges and bring to them unique solutions.

“My dream as a child was to explore space and as an adult I have done so by sending spacecraft and scientific laboratories to the main asteroid belt, mars, and the international space station. Now I am using those same skills to create green transportation here on Earth with the hyperloop.”

Dr. Anita believes, It is the job of the engineer to innovate and bring new technology to market. The challenge and the result is why we do what we do. Competition is the stimulus of new ideas and the facilitator of efficiency.

IT revolution of the past decade has developed the software and firmware technologies and architectures to enable vehicular autonomy. As such, there has never been a better time for such synergies.

With no new mode of transport in over 100 years, the Hyperloop is seen today as a breakthrough technology which will revolutionise the future of transport with Anita and the Hyperloop team expecting to see these systems all over the world in less than a decade, interfacing and enhancing the overall transportation experience for all of us.

She says, “I want to help our planet by combatting climate change. We can only do that if we switch to renewable energy sources for transportation and all sectors of the global economy.”

When asked about gender diversity in the engineering field, particularly with her unique background Anita says, “One of the reasons why I left the space program and became an executive in tech is that sometimes you yourself can be the stimulus for change. We must have gender parity in tech. Female leaders such as myself are the first step to ensure there are diverse hiring practices and work environments consistent with that. I mentor and teach the next generation both in my role as a professor, a science communicator, and with social media.”



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