Boring Company has a video showing Tesla’s with autopilot driving at 127 mph in Boring tunnels. They are not using sleds or guide wheels.
This would mean if Boring Company can build the tunnels at the low-cost they are projecting then no other upgrades with rail or other systems will be needed. They will be able to add an underground lane of traffic at the same construction cost of about $5-10 million per mile as widening a highway. However, highways need to buy or gets rights to land on the surface. This can add hundreds of millions of dollars per mile in US cities. Boring Company can also offset the costs by selling lower-cost bricks made out of the dirt they dig out.
Boring Company was recently approved for a one-mile tunnel transportation system in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas System may eventually expand to connect the Las Vegas Convention Center to the Strip.
No more wheel guider/train platform? 127mph in a narrow tunnel just in autopilot?
— Olivier R (@Nepomucene) May 24, 2019
Wanna race? pic.twitter.com/zDNpdsdHaM
— The Boring Company (@boringcompany) May 24, 2019
Boring Company Reducing Tunnel Costs Toward the Cost of Widening a Highway by One Lane
Boring Company reduced the tunnel diameter. The current standard for a one-lane tunnel is approximately 28 feet. By using electric autonomous vehicles with alignment wheels, the diameter can be reduced to less than 14 feet. Reducing the diameter in half reduces tunneling costs by 3-4 times.
They are significantly increase the speed of the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM). TBMs are super slow. A snail is effectively 14 times faster than a soft-soil TBM. The goal is to defeat the snail in a race (Tunnel 14 times faster). Ways to increase TBM speed:
Increase TBM power. The machine’s power output can be tripled (while coupled with the appropriate upgrades in cooling systems).
Continuously tunnel. When building a tunnel, current soft-soil machines tunnel for 50% of the time and erect tunnel support structures the other 50%. This is inefficient. Existing technology can be modified to support continuous tunneling activity.
Automate the TBM. While smaller diameter tunneling machines are automated, larger ones currently require multiple human operators. By automating the larger TBMs, both safety and efficiency are increased.
Go electric. Current tunnel operations often include diesel locomotives. These have been replaced by electric locomotives.
Tunneling R&D. In the United States, there is virtually no investment in tunneling Research and Development (and in many other forms of construction). The construction industry is one of the only sectors in our economy that has not improved its productivity in the last 50 years.
SOURCES- Boring Company, Twitter