Traffic in major cities around the world can be terrible and every year it seems to get worse and for sure we could all benefit from all electric, smart transportation systems. At least the move to electric vehicles will start to reduce the emissions involved not just for helping to reduce climate killing CO2 but also for air quality. Once a vehicle is based on an electric drive-train there are so many more options for designers including the use of artificial intelligence to allow them to self driving.
General Motors played with electric cars in the 80’s ( who killed the electric car? ), but really it was not until internet entrepreneur Elon Musk bought his way into an electric car start up company that commercial electric car became a reality. Now Tesla Motors is more of a power company than just a car company, making battery systems for cars, home and grid as well as solar panels for utilities and residential.
Elon has recently made the news ( again) by starting a new company called the Boring Company and it is anything but boring except is is about the science of boring. ( sorry confusing right?). This venture is aimed at reducing the congestion of traffic in major cities like Los Angeles or Shanghai but moving the traffic underground.
In order to go underground you need to be able drill tunnels and you need to design a vehicle that can easily move from driving on top of the ground to driving underneath it.
The vehicle needs to be electric since there can no emissions allowed in a sealed tunnel and it needs to be capable of very high speeds.
Elon has expanded his Hyper-loop concept whereby a cylinder shaped vehicle is introduced into a vacuum sealed tube where it is able to travel at very high speeds. The Boring company concept is similar in that the tube is the bored hole in the ground and the vehicle is basically a sealed all electric powered passenger carrier designed on a skateboard like platform.
You may wonder why on a website dedicated to smart technology we are choosing to talk about this crazy idea right? It is because in order to be able move so much traffic from the surface to high-speed underground tunnels artificial intelligence science will need to provide a very very smart system.
Sensors and video camera to protect the passengers, coordinate movements with other vehicles, manage the environment for the human passengers while keeping them safe will require deep learning A.I. systems. This is interesting given that Elon is on record stating that artificial intelligence technology left unchecked may in fact bring the end for mankind.
The Boring Company will need to make some serious step changes in the costs to bore a tunnel if it is to be able to compete with concrete or asphalt surface roads. Designing a passenger vehicle and management system to use the bored tunnels will be at least as big a challenge and for sure A.I. will be involved.