Revhead Ramblings: What is the point of Elon’s 155mph tunnel?
- December 28, 2018
- Posted by: Alex Baker
- Category: Revhead Ramblings
Elon Musk and his Boring Company made quite a splash in LA last week. Instead of a personal flame thrower or a hat, they’ve instead unveiled 155mph tunnel for self-driving cars…
On paper it’s a single-file tunnel that can allow self-driving cars to travel at high speed with no danger of crashing, hitting anything or getting stuck in traffic. It needs no significant surface-level infrastructure and could cut journey times to a fraction of what Angelinos currently have to put up with. Furthermore, it only costs $10 million per mile; I say ‘only’ as sub-city railways cost $900 million per mile…
This is all sounds splendid then, those who’re rich enough can effectively bypass the nightmare that is rush hour traffic and let their self-driving car do its thing. There are some flaws in this great plan however. Firstly, the tunnel can obviously only run one way at a time, to have opposite flowing traffic you’d have to double those costs and potentially the build time. It’s possible to get around this by, for example, flowing traffic into the centre of the city in the morning and then flowing them out at night; it’s hardly an ideal practise though.
The real figures
Elon and the Boring Company were very proud to announce that at full capacity, they could safely transport 4000 cars per hour or just over 1 per second. While this may sound impressive, a busy but free flowing Californian highway transports between five and 15 cars per second over a single point. Therefore, the tunnel won’t even scratch the surface of people’s traffic woes.
Elon has faced a barrage of questions on Twitter over the plans, even the director of the Hungarian Transit Museum labelled the project a scam! I’d personally like to know how new cars joining the system would be able to get up to speed quickly enough that they’re not rear ended, like my poor car was on Boxing day! Secondly how many people can leave from the same exit at once? Like any city or town, there are going to be certain places that are extremely popular and trying to force over 60 cars out every minute doesn’t seem feasible.
When he’s not accusing heroes of being overly friendly with children or abusing his workers’ rights, Elon seems to be a great guy who truly cares about the planet. Many people have suggested these public outbursts are often covers for further delays in production or to make people overlook another of his stupid comments. The Boring Company was supposed to be fun and full of fun ideas, like the flamethrowers. It seems that it’s becoming more of joke with each new announcement unfortunately…
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