Quantcast
Connect with us

Elon Musk says low-cost tunnels will revolutionize city driving

Published

on

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 Tuesday put the spotlight on the a 1.14 mile (1.8 kilometer) tunnel created by his Boring Company for about $10 million.

The sample tunnel is part of 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,” Musk said of solving the problem of traffic congestion in urban areas.

“It’s all relatively simple. No Nobel Prize is needed here.”

An entrance to a sample tunnel was shown publicly for the first time in this city near Los Angeles as the initial stage of Musk’s project to revolutionize city traffic by zipping along below congested streets.

ADVERTISEMENT

Musk founded the Boring company two years ago as a self-financed, side-endeavor 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 deepest mines are deeper than the tallest buildings,” Musk said.

“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, stabilizing wheels, so that it can travel at high speed through a small tunnel.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Tunnels will eventually be open to all compatible self-driving electric vehicles, but for now Boring is using Teslas in the tube.

– Soul-crushing inspiration –

The idea for the project came to the billionaire of South African origin 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.

It is a journey that takes him more than 90 minutes and he considered soul-crushing.

ADVERTISEMENT

The “tunnel test” unveiled Tuesday appeared simple: a narrow tube, only 3.65m in diameter (12 feet), freshly painted white, in which a Tesla Model X is fitted with stabilizers on wheels to slot into the track and avoid bumping the walls.

An early idea about placing cars on an electric sled of sorts was deemed too complex and abandoned, said Musk.

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 40 mph (65 kmh) in what felt somewhat akin to an amusement park ride.

ADVERTISEMENT

Musk brushed aside worries about earthquakes in temblor-prone California, repeatedly contending that tunnels were the safest place to be when plates shift and the earth shakes.

– Slower than a snail –

The broad vision is that electric vehicles on city streets would be able to easily drop into tunnels or rise out using elevator platforms built into streets, or ramps where space allows.

Boring has partnered with public transit in Los Angeles to study the possibility of connecting tunnels with subway stations.

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago chose Boring for its project for a high-speed, capsule-shaped train connecting the city center to the airport. Requests for drilling services flow in at a rate of five to 20 a week, according to Boring president Steve Davis.

For his idea to succeed, Musk must manage to slash the time and cost of tunnel drilling. Conventional tunnels take, on average two to four months to dig a mile (1.6 kilometer} proceeding “14 times slower than a snail” while costing a billion dollars, he said.

The Boring company, on the other hand, was on the cusp of deploying a prototype “Prufrock” machine capable of drilling 15 times faster than the best gear in use now, according to Musk.

Like the “Godot” and “Line-Storm” models that came before that machine, the nickname was inspired by a literary work. Prufrock came from a poem by T.S. Eliot.

ADVERTISEMENT

Musk’s mechanical recipe includes using batteries and electric motors to boost power to boring machinery while eliminating harmful exhaust fumes.

Tunnels are also small-bore, using extracted dirt to build walls.

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Walmart got a $2.2 billion tax cut — now it’s laying off workers

Published

on

Walmart announced it will lay off hundreds of workers in North Carolina despite receiving billions in tax cuts that the Republican Party and President Trump claimed would spur job growth.

The giant retailer will lay off about 570 employees and close its corporate office near the Charlotte airport, despite signing a 12-year lease just four years earlier, the Charlotte Business Journal reported.

The work done at the Charlotte facility will be outsourced to a firm in Arkansas, according to the report.

Continue Reading

Facebook

Amazon, Google and Facebook warrant antitrust scrutiny for many reasons – not just because they’re large

Published

on

There’s a growing chorus of U.S. politicians, antitrust scholars and consumer watchdogs calling for stricter antitrust treatment of Amazon, Google, Facebook and other tech giants. Some even say they should be broken up.

Most recently, U.S. lawmakers launched a sweeping review to determine if these companies have become so big and powerful that they are stifling competition and harming consumers, while federal regulators are also gearing up to take action.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Hacker used $35 computer to steal restricted NASA data

Published

on

A hacker used a tiny Raspberry Pi computer to infiltrate NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory network, stealing sensitive data and forcing the temporary disconnection of space-flight systems, the agency has revealed.

The April 2018 attack went undetected for nearly a year, according to an audit report issued on June 18, and an investigation is still underway to find the culprit.

A Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized device sold for about $35 that plugs into home televisions and is used mainly to teach coding to children and promote computing in developing countries.

Prior to detection, the attacker was able to exfiltrate 23 files amounting to approximately 500 megabytes of data, the report from NASA's Office of inspector General said.

Continue Reading
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

 ENOUGH IS ENOUGH 

Trump endorses killing journalists, like Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Online ad networks are now targeting sites that cover acts of violence against dissidents, LGBTQ people and people of color.

Learn how you can help.
close-link