The Boring Company: Elon Musk Plans to Prioritize Pedestrians and Cyclists
The Boring Company unveiled a car-focused vision of the future on Tuesday, but pedestrians will play a big role in its operation. Founder Elon Musk told an audience, outside the company’s 1.14-mile test tunnel in Hawthorne, California, that while its future tunnels will only support autonomous cars gliding through at speeds of up to 150 mph, the company will operate a series of vehicles so people without a car can use the service.
Musk said that “we will have continuously operating cars in the loop for those that do not have a car…so we will actually give priority to pedestrians and cyclists with cars that are continuously circulating in the loop, so even if you don’t have a car, you can still use the system. I really want to emphasize that.” Musk also dismissed ideas that the company was against public transport, adding: “I want to be clear, we’re not opposed to mass transit, we think mass transit is fine.”
The firm’s plan would see autonomous cars equipped with guide wheels entering and exiting tunnels through elevators, ramps and spirals. The company claims it will support 4,000 vehicles per hour, and the Tesla Model X in the company’s literature offers up to seven seats. By comparison, a London Underground train holds 1,000 people and moves 36 trains per hour on some lines. That means while The Boring Company’s design could move 28,000 people per hour, London’s tube can move 8,000 more in the same timeframe.
However, Musk is also promising better speeds than traditional metro lines. Through the use of autonomous cars, the company is aiming for speeds of up to 150 mph. That compares to what Musk claims is just 10 mph for regular metro lines, and while Transport for London claims a faster average speed of 20 mph, it seems The Boring Company could offer a speedier service for passengers looking to get across town.
Perhaps the big question is how this would work with Tesla’s “shared electro autonomy” model, with autonomous Teslas whizzing around to pick up passengers while their owner is not using the car. While The Boring Company is happy to let the Model X loose autonomously through its tunnels, Musk claimed in April that the biggest hurdle to such a taxi service would be regulations for public roads.
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