Like everyone else, Elon Musk loathes traffic jam. His distaste for this ‘side effect’ of urbanization is so deep that it prompted the billionaire entrepreneur to take matter into his own hands. First, he pitted the idea of Hyperloop, a fast interstate mass transportation system, and then he decided to solve city jams with a series of ‘tubes’ in which cars rides on autonomous platform at high speed. And this being Musk, he started a company to do just that.
Almost two years on, The Boring Company has something to show: a prototype tunnel with track for cars to prove to the Americans and the world that his idea would work. Simply called “Loop,” Elon Musk personally present the Hawthorne Test Tunnel in Los Angeles on Tuesday (December 18) to a crowd of guests and media. Like he always do when unveiling Tesla electric cars, Elon Musk made quite an entrance to the reveal event by emerging in a Tesla Model X in the newly constructed 1.14 mile (1.83 kilometers) long tunnel.
In this demo, the car was outfitted with horizontal side rollers (think side friction wheels on a roller coaster) that run along the discreet track on each side of the tunnel, as opposed to the original idea of a platform. Also in this demonstration, the car wasn’t going 150 mph (240 km/h) which it was designed for. Instead, it was going at a rather boring 40-45 mph (64-72 km/h). Plus the ride wasn’t as smooth as it should have been. As Musk himself described the ride as “rough around the edges.” He said they “ran out of time” because of “some problems with the speed of the paving machine.” But he promised that it will be “smooth as glass,” once the issues are ironed out.
In future, autonomous, electric cars utilizing the Loop will be lowered to the subterranean level to join the networks of tunnel, to be whisked away at high speed to wherever. This will allow it to escape the grid lock happening above ground and dramatically reduce the commute time between point A and point B. The Hawthorne Test Tunnel in L.A., which is located roughly 45 feet (13.7 meters) below the surface, is equipped with wall-less lift to lower the car to the tunnel.
Though it is not clear if future tunnels will be at this depth or it will vary based on what’s underground and the condition of earth. Whatever it is, it is clear that a la-The Jetsons future is not far from materializing. Except that we won’t be traveling through transparent tube with no vehicle or platform. Have a look at the demo in the video below and if you are so incline, you may want to catch the entire reveal event embedded after the first video.
Image: Reuters/The Boring Company.
Source: Mail Online.