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tunnel with retractable wheel gear that turns a car into a rail-guided train & back again pic.twitter.com/3a6i0NoSmi
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 19, 2018
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s vision of an “entirely new system of transport,” which he unveiled Wednesday night at a splashy event in Hawthorne, California, wasn’t a reusable rocket like the ones he’s building at his nearby SpaceX headquarters. Nor is it an electric vehicle, like the Teslas he is producing at a factory in Fremont, California.
Tonight, Musk showed off a 1.14-mile test tunnel — that snakes its way underneath 120th Street in the city of Hawthorne — that his other business, the Boring Company, dug for about $10 million using a modified boring machine called Godot. (That $10 million figures includes the cost of building the tunnel, all internal infrastructure, lighting,
communication and video, safety systems, ventilation, and track, according to the company.) For Musk, this is merely a demonstration of what could be: a network of low-cost tunnels used for transportation, utilities or water and built for millions of dollars, or even billions less than those constructed for subways or trains.
Tunnels - Diameter - Subway - Thanks - Company
These tunnels, which at about 12-feet in diameter are smaller than a subway, are cheaper to build thanks to the company’s boring machines, Musk and Boring Company president Steve Davis contend.
The tunnels could be stacked — Musk calls it a 3D network — and operate like a giant underground highway with vehicles entering and exiting at strategic points along the way via ramp, spiral or elevator depending on available space. The main tunnel would allow vehicles, which are stabilized via a retractable tracking wheels, to travel up to 150 miles per hour. Once a vehicle leaves the main artery, speeds would be reduced. (The retractable tracking wheels are important, new development; Musk said they originally were going to place the vehicles on a skate, which would travel at high speeds, but ditched the idea because it was too “complex.”
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