On Monday, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani was named as the eighth richest person in the world with a fortune of $83 billion, as per the Hurun Global Rich List 2021. At the same time, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk ranked first with a net worth of $197 billion.
But a top 10 rank in the list of the world's wealthiest is not the only thing that the two have in common. Ambani’s Reliance Industries recently acquired a US-based transportation company developing pod taxis. While not a new investment for the company's subsidiary Reliance Strategic Business Ventures, RIL announced at the end of February that it had bought an additional stake in skyTran for $ 26.76 million. Its total stake in the company now stands at 54.5%.
But even as Ambani appears to be looking westward and onto the future with investments into the futuristic technology, Elon Musk and fellow investor in futuristic ventures appears to be turning to India. skyTran's work is rather similar to the Hyperloop conceptualised by Musk - a technological advance that is currently being implemented in India.
Put simply, Hyperloop contemplates a system of sealed tubes through which a pod may travel free of air resistance at great speeds. Multiple hyperloop projects are presently ongoing in India. This includes the Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop that would reduce the travel time between the two cities drastically. While the plans remain somewhat hypothetical still, some including Pune engineer Tanay Manjrekar have test travelled on Virgin Hyperloop's test loop.
Incidentally Reliance also recently announced its intention to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles. This announcement came soon after Elon Musk's Tesla began prepping for an entry into the Indian market later this year.
"Our acquiring majority equity stake in skyTran reflects our commitment to invest in building futuristic technologies that would transform the world. We are excited by skyTran’s potential to achieve an order of magnitude impact on highspeed intra and inter-city connectivity and its ability to provide a high speed, highly efficient and economical ‘Transportation-As-A-Service’ platform for India and the Rest of the World," a regulatory filing with BSE quoted Ambani as saying.