Tesla boss says Boring Company's Loop system can transport modified autonomous EVs at speeds of up to 150mph
James Attwood, digital editor
19 December 2018

Tesla boss Elon Musk’s Boring Company has unveiled a prototype underground tunnel that it says can transport autonomous electric cars at speeds of up to 150mph.

The one-mile test tunnel in Los Angeles has been constructed to show the feasibility of The Loop, which Musk said was the “future of mass transit”. 

Electric cars are modified with special tracking wheel attachments, which allow the car to be attached to a track in the tunnel. The attachment is designed to keep the car stable while travelling at high speeds, guided by its own autonomous functions. It is not clear what 'level' of autonomy such cars will need to have to use the tunnel.

The Boring Company has modified a number of Tesla Model X SUVs to test on the prototype tunnel. Musk says the system is currently capable of reaching speeds up to 110mph, but test runs during the launch event were limited to 50mph.

While only cars from Musk’s Tesla firm has so far been used on the tunnel, the entrepreneur said that any electric car with full autonomous capability would be able to use the system.

Musk said that each tunnel could eventually support up to 4000 cars per hour, with a number of extra cars circulating the system capable of picking up and dropping off pedestrians. 

A number of reports from those who had test runs said the ride was bumpy, which Musk said was down to the short timescale to prepare the tunnel. He claimed the finished version would be “as smooth as glass.”

He added that the smaller size of the tunnels – less than 14 feet in diameter – compared to those for underground train lines (around 28 feet) meant they were cheaper and quicker to produce. Musk added that he was also investing in developing boring machinery to improve speeds.

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While some transport planners have questioned the viability of the scheme, suggesting it would create bottlenecks at the entrance and exit points, Musk said the small size of such stations meant more could be installed than for a subway system. He added that, while pricing was not set, he was aiming to charge $1 (80p) per trip.

The Loop is a separate project to the Hyperloop One scheme that Musk is also involved in. That concept uses a vacuum-sealed turbo to propel large autonomous pods at speeds above 600mph, the new project is designed to work with modified cars.

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Comments
7

19 December 2018

 Loopy, as in another Loopy idea from the Brain desk in Elon Musks mind....!

Peter Cavellini.

19 December 2018

Loopy?

Pity you dont have a clue which is why you are not a billionaire like him

19 December 2018
lambo58 wrote:

Loopy?

Pity you dont have a clue which is why you are not a billionaire like him

. Lambo 58@, someone else can’t grasp this other “loopy “ idea, Musks ideas are like predictions from the sixties , predicting we’d all be sitting around having to do nothing because machines would be doing what we’re told are mundane chores, WTH would you want to put your, a Car in a Tunnel at 150mph?, won’t there be better, above ground, high speed transports?, Trains,Planes?, won’t they have advanced to make travel stress free?, or didn’t you think being stuck in your Car in a Tunnel, not in control not stressful...?, Musk may be worth billions, not in charge just no though hmmm?, he may be bordering on genius, but, a Chief is only as good as his tribe, Musk for President?....anyone?

Peter Cavellini.

19 December 2018
Peter Cavellini wrote:

Musk for President?....anyone?

 

Why not, his grasp of reality seems as tenuous as Trump's, so plenty of rednecks would vote for him.

Citroëniste.

19 December 2018

Genuine question.... Whats the point?! If the cars can drive themselves then why the hell do we need tunnels to do it?! Is this like a very fast subway for cars?

23 December 2018
It's an interesting implementation, and in a city like LA is certainly a welcome way to circumvent traffic.

Ultimately however, slightly alarming - hopefully city officials have a well put together plan to avoid a spiders web of underground tunnels, and the unintended consequences these could cause!!

With a thought through transit network this could certainly take some of the pressure off LA's busy roads though - if only as a stop gap, and ultimately a bit of a gimmick

9 January 2019

Thank you for this article. I like reading about Elon Musk and his achievements. He's inspiring me to study and to be engineer. I was reading this article https://truowl.com/study-in-australia/ just now and I think I'm going to get a degree in engineering there.

With great power comes great responsibility

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