The founder and CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, presented today in Los Angeles (USA) a tunnel prototype to transport passengers in booths or drive them in their own vehicles, which he devised as a solution to congestion in large cities.
This test tunnel, which is almost two kilometers long, was excavated in the basement of the aerospace transport company SpaceX in Hawthorne (near Los Angeles), also founded by Musk.
Musk starred in the test run in one of the electric vehicles that can ideally reach 240 kilometers per hour, faster than an underground train, although today it did not exceed 80 kilometers per hour.
A smiling Musk greeted the audience after getting off the Tesla vehicle with which he made the test run.
The businessman explained that the cost of drilling has been about 10 million dollars, assumed by his infrastructure company Boring Company, which uses a combination of traditional machinery and cutting-edge technology to save "time and money".
He contrasted it with the traditional drilling system, "40 times slower than a snail and excessively expensive", since the diameters are larger.
Musk's vision is to develop a tunnel system "that can be expanded and improved unlimitedly, like a three-dimensional highway system under the surface."
Inside, high-speed cabins with at least 16 passengers will travel, or private vehicles using a hydraulic system that will descend from the surface to a base, which will travel through the tunnels with electric traction.
Traveling from downtown Los Angeles to its international airport (LAX) will take eight minutes, on a route that, with the usual congestion, now requires between 40 and 80 minutes.
Musk, in fact, came up with the idea frustrated by the traffic in the Californian metropolis. "Traffic is driving me crazy," he said, announcing on Twitter two years ago his intention to "build a drilling machine" and "start digging."
Beyond the prototype, the initial project proposal for Los Angeles will not be to its airport, but a line called "Dugout Loop" that transports the Angelenos to the Dodgers Stadium from different neighborhoods of the city.
The initial capacity of the system would be to transport some 1,400 people per event, equivalent to 2.5% of the capacity of the stadium, for 56,000 spectators, although the entrepreneur said those numbers could double up to 2,800.
The Boring Company of Musk not only works with the proposal of Los Angeles, but has another to connect O'Hare International Airport in Chicago with the center of the city of winds, or another between Washington and Baltimore.
In more advanced stages, the system aims to offer great time savings for some of the drivers in Los Angeles, who face one of the most congested traffic axes in the country.
Musk has not submitted a timeline or a budget for his project.
"This is the only way I can think to face chronic traffic problems in major cities," said Musk in the presentation.
"Almost any city in the world," he insisted, "has serious traffic problems, and I do not see any other solution just around the corner."
The futuristic dream of Musk, which still generates many doubts, showed today its first apex of reality, although it already promised a "revolution" of the transport system in the big cities of the world.