Elon Musk bores tunnel to revolutionise city driving

Elon Musk on Tuesday took a break from futuristic electric cars and private space travel to unveil a low-cost tunnel he sees as a godsend for city traffic. The billionaire behind Tesla and SpaceX late on Tuesday put the spotlight on a 1.8 km tunnel created by his Boring Company for about $10 million. The sample tunnel is part of Mr. Musk’s vision to have an underground network that cars, preferably Teslas, can be lowered to by lifts, then slotted into tracks and propelled along at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kmh). “The only way to solve this is to go 3D, for the transport system to match the living quarters,” Mr. Musk said of solving the problem of traffic congestion in urban areas. “It’s all relatively simple. No Nobel Prize is needed here.” Mr. Musk founded the Boring company two years ago as a self-financed, side-endeavour to his work at Tesla and SpaceX. Specially designed equipment drills tunnels wide enough to accommodate a car on a track. The network envisioned is an expandable mesh of tunnels and elevators capable of having more than 4,000 cars pass through per hour. “The profound breakthrough is very simple: it’s the ability to turn a normal car into a passively stable vehicle by adding the deployable tracking wheels, stabilising wheels, so that it can travel at high speed through a small tunnel.” The idea for the project came to Mr. Musk when he was fuming at the wheel of his car, trapped in traffic jams between his Bel Air villa and the SpaceX offices in Hawthorne near Los Angeles. It is a journey that takes him more than 90 minutes and that he considered “soul-crushing”. The “tunnel test” unveiled on Tuesday appeared simple: a narrow tube, only 3.65 m in diameter, freshly painted white, in which a Tesla Model X electric car is fitted with stabilisers on wheels to slot into the track and avoid bumping the walls. The entrance to the tunnel was dug in a parking lot in Hawthorne, with an elevator platform on a street corner raising and lowering cars to the track. Journalists and others attending the event got to bolt through the short tunnel at about 65 kmh in what felt somewhat akin to an amusement park ride. Mr. Musk brushed aside worries about earthquakes in temblor-prone California, repeatedly contending that tunnels were the safest place to be when the earth shakes.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-life/elon-musk-bores-tunnel-to-revolutionise-city-driving/article25785515.ece

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