Billionaire Elon Musk has unveiled a 1.14 mile (1.8 kilometer) sample tunnel that he hopes will solve the problem of traffic congestion in California.
Created by his Boring Company for around $10 million, the tunnel runs underneath a main street in Hawthorne where headquarters are based. It starts in Musk’s Space X car park and finishes around a mile away in a residential area.
The sample tunnel will allow for Tesla cars to be lowered by lifts, slotted onto tracks and be propelled along at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kmh). It is part of the businessman’s vision of an underground network that will revolutionize city driving.
He hopes to construct an expandable mesh of tunnels and elevators capable of having more than 4,000 electrics cars pass through per hour as “an actual solution to the soul-crushing burden of traffic.”
The Boring Company gave reporters demonstration rides through the tunnel in modified Tesla Model X SUVs, going between 40 and 50 mph.
Deployable alignment wheels have been attached to the two front wheels of the Model X and act as a bumper to keep the car on course and prevent colliding into the side of the tunnel.
“If a driver passes out or goes crazy those tracking wheels ensure the car stays on track,” said Musk.
He said the ‘relatively simple’ idea came to him during his 90-min commute to his Bel Air home, where he frequently found himself stuck in traffic.
"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," Musk said at a presentation on December 18th.
For now, Boring will use only Tesla cars in the tunnel but will eventually be open to all compatible self-driving electric vehicles.