Boring Company to unveil autonomous cars, tunnel elevators on Dec 18

Brittany A. Roston - Dec 6, 2018, 7:30 pm CST
Boring Company to unveil autonomous cars, tunnel elevators on Dec 18

“The Boring Company” will have a product launch on December 18, its founder Elon Musk announced on Thursday evening. This will be “more than a tunnel opening,” Musk said, promising that it will include car elements and autonomous vehicles. The company launched in 2016 to take traffic underground, the proposed solution to Los Angeles’ growing transportation issue.

It’s no secret that traffic in LA is terrible, and many other large cities around the world face similar road congestion problems. The Boring Company plainly states on its website, “To solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic, roads must go 3D, which means either flying cars or tunnels.” Flying cars are problematic for a number of reasons while tunnels offer multiple benefits, including being weatherproof and out of sight.

Musk’s tunnel company envisions a vast transportation network located in tunnels beneath a city. The concept video above, which is from The Boring Company, demonstrates what a system like this may look like. Rather than the stairs found at subway terminals, Boring Company’s concept includes ground-to-tunnel elevators that provide direct access to the vehicles.

Though tunnels for transportation aren’t a new idea, the cost of boring these tunnels is very prohibitive. Musk’s company has solutions to that issue, though, including fixing the vehicles to a “stabilized electric skate,” allowing the tunnel’s diameter to be reduced to only 14ft. Changes to the Tunnel Boring Machines and tunneling process can also speed things up and reduce cost.

The Boring Company proposes different potential benefits for a city that adopts underground tunnel transportation, including an aboveground city designed without roads and other transportation infrastructure. Whereas flying cars are noisy and may make people on the ground nervous, underground tunnels would be effectively invisible to people on the ground, silent, and could be expanded with new tunnels as transportation needs grow.

In a tweet this evening, Musk revealed that The Boring Company will have a product launch on December 18, but that it’ll be more than just a tunnel opening. “Will include modded but fully road legal autonomous transport cars & ground to tunnel car elevators,” Musk said in his tweet. No other details on the event were provided, however.

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