ELON MUSK has unveiled a super-fast transport tunnel underneath LA that would feel like “teleporting within a city”.
The so-called Test Tunnel only runs at 40mph right now, but Musk says his revolutionary system will eventually hit speeds of 150mph.
The Sun Reports:
Los Angeles is famously difficult to navigate due to high traffic levels – and has a notorious rush-hour that can leave drivers stranded for hours.
Musk believes his concept tunnel – in this case, located in south LA’s Hawthorne area – can solve this problem, carting commuters through a subterranean network of tunnels.
These tunnels are drilled by his Boring Company outfit, which uses specialised equipment for quick, cheap tunnelling.
Drivers in autonomous vehicles would be able to join the subterranean loop at any point, and be pushed through the tunnels at 150mph.
“At that speed, it will feel like teleporting within a city,” Musk boasted.
“It’s much more like an underground highway than it is a subway,” he said.
“It’s not like you’re going through a whole series of stops. Nope, the main arteries will be going super fast, and it’s only when you want to get off the loop system that you slow down.”
He also said that future “stations” for the tunnels could be a small as a parking spot.
Passengers are taken below ground at a new location named O’Leary Station, which Musk described as being in “someone’s backyard”.
This wall-less lift lowers an electric Tesla Model S vehicle 30 to 40 feet underground to the Boring Company’s Test Tunnel.
“The purpose is to demonstrate that a lift can be built in very small footprints and within existing buildings, whether they are houses, office buildings, or retail parking lots,” explains the Boring Company.
“Looking forward, one could have a lift in the basement of every office building, allowing extremely convenient commutes.”
Musk described his first ride as “epic”, and said: “For me it was a ‘eureka’ moment. I was like, ‘this thing is going to damn well work’.”
But Musk also admitted that rides are still bumpy, because a slow paving machine meant they “ran out of time”.
However, he said that future tunnels will be “smooth as glass”.
“We’re obviously in the early stages here,” Musk told reporters.
“This is a prototype, we’re figuring things out. What’s really important is that there is a path, finally, to alleviating traffic congestion in cities.
“If what we’re saying is true, and we think it is, there is finally a solution.”
The Test Tunnel itself is a 1.1-mile underground track that cost around $10million (£7.9million) to build.
But Musk hopes that future tunnels will be cheaper to build, allowing for huge layered networks of tunnels.
Sadly, there’s still no word on how long it will take to produce these tunnels, or how much they’ll actually cost.
But that isn’t stopping investors, according to Musk.
“We definitely do not have all the answers here,” he explained.
“We have people hounding us to invest non-stop, which is weird because they haven’t seen the financials.
“They just assume this will work, and they’re probably right.”
The Boring Company is a tunnelling company for all intents and purposes, but its stated mission has always been to reduce traffic.
According to Musk’s firm, the only solution for “soul-destroying traffic” is to make roads “go 3D, which means either flying cars or tunnels”.
“Unlike flying cars, tunnels are weatherproof, out of sight and won’t fall on your head,” the Boring Company explains.
“A large network of tunnels many levels deep would help alleviate congestion in any city, no matter how large it grew (just keep adding levels).
“The key to making this work is increasing tunnelling speed and dropping costs by a factor of 10 or more – this is the goal of The Boring Company.”
And Musk’s ambitions aren’t confined to Earth, either.
Musk has long been an advocate of setting up human colonies on Mars, and hopes to launch a manned mission to the red planet as soon as 2024 – through his SpaceX venture.
But Musk also said that he could foresee an “infinite real estate underground there, saying: “I hope we’re one day building tunnels on Mars. That would be a glorious day.”
From The Sun