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Musk Says Boring Company To Focus on Hyperloop to Transport Pedestrians

Elon Musk says The Boring Company is shifting its plan a bit to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists over cars.

A video the company previously published showed cars being transported on sled-like platforms. Cars would be lowered into the tunnel by street-level elevators and then transported underground at speeds up to 150 mph.

The company also teased a pod that would carry passengers, which seems to be The Boring Company’s current focus. “Will still transport cars, but only after all personalized mass transit needs are met,” Musk said in a tweet. “It’s a matter of courtesy & fairness. If someone can’t afford a car, they should go first.”

Musk said the company’s “urban loop system” would have thousands of small stations the size of a single parking space that take riders close to their destination and blend seamlessly into a city, rather than a small number of big stations like a subway. 

Musk shared a video to Twitter to offer an idea of how the concept would work.


And, he accepted comparisons to a bus system.


The Boring Company is currently digging a tunnel under Los Angeles, and recently received approval to dig in Washington, DC.

 
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HankLloydRight

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Many articles came out about this at the same time, but I think they're all confusing "Hyperloop" with this new, updated "urban loop" concept.

Hyperloop is the large, long distance, low pressure tubes where pods travel at very high speeds:

Hyperloop - Wikipedia
Elon Musk's version of the concept, first publicly mentioned in 2012,[2] incorporates reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on air bearings driven by linear induction motors and air compressors.[3]

This is very different from these metro pods/carts that run on pavement below ground at 150 mph and have lots of small boarding stations. That's not Hyperloop.

Also, based on that new video clip, wouldn't installing regular people sized elevators make more sense, to lower people down to the pod/vehicle on the underground roadway? It seems overly complex to have a system to raise and lower the entire vehicle, when it could just stay mounted to the track below, and people could board there. No need to raise and lower the entire "bus" when an existing elevator would work just fine. Typical Elon Musk "engineering."
 

Cloxxki

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If such a pod would fit say 20 people standing, and there are thousands of stations, how are the travelers distributed? Do they transfer underground at hubs? A certain ratio between number of stations and number of pods in rotation needs to be upheld to ensure short travel times. In any case, until the system is used at full capacity, the average stop connecting directly to street level will only see one or two people getting on or off. Meaning, a lot of stops before you are dropped off. Not the pin pointed quick travel promised for cars on skates.
 

HankLloydRight

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Agreed. There's a direct conflict/inverse relationship between number of stops/stations, transfer hubs (and transfer time), and the speed of the entire trip for any one person.

I'm not sure this is a better solution to busses (lots of stops, slow travel time), and subways (few stops, faster travel times), or cars (one destination stop, highly fluctuating travel times based on traffic).

And since we're dealing with humans here, the pods can't just eject each passenger when approaching their selected stop/station.

It might work with cargo -- have some sort of ejection/exit/deceleration ramp for each stop while the main pod continues at full speed. I don't see that working with humans.
 
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Keep in mind the Pod has the same footprint as a single car, taxi, or Uber. They’re driverless, electric and very cheap to operate vs other forms of transport. Standing capacity probably isn’t much more than 12 or 15. There are a lot of pods in the system so there’s no issue for much of the day taking 1 or 2 people directly point to point. When there are crowds, the network is constantly recalculating routes and matching with App generated demand and mixing it in with AV cars in the network.

Think of this as an option on a Tesla Network App. You tell the app where you’re going, it knows where you are and you’ve set some preferences. Rather than pick up in a TN car exactly where you are, the App tells you you can walk a block and a half and take a shared Urban Loop Pod at a point where it pops up, get taken 6 miles closer to your destination in a few minutes and then get met by a TN car that takes you the rest of the way for half the price and get there 10 minutes quicker. You say OK.

You wait for two minutes at the Urban Loop pop up during which time three other Pods pop up for other people before your Pod arrives and your phone tells you this is it. The Pod takes you directly 6 miles in 3 minutes and pops up. Your Phone notifies you your Tesla Network Model 3 is Red and will arrive in 90 seconds at your location.
 
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Agreed. There's a direct conflict/inverse relationship between number of stops/stations, transfer hubs (and transfer time), and the speed of the entire trip for any one person.

I'm not sure this is a better solution to busses (lots of stops, slow travel time), and subways (few stops, faster travel times), or cars (one destination stop, highly fluctuating travel times based on traffic).

And since we're dealing with humans here, the pods can't just eject each passenger when approaching their selected stop/station.

It might work with cargo -- have some sort of ejection/exit/deceleration ramp for each stop while the main pod continues at full speed. I don't see that working with humans.

Think of it as an extension of the Tesla Network in busy urban settings working off the same app. Eventually I think the intent is for those Pods to be AVs that roll on and off the Skates and drive around the streets on their own just like individual cars except with somewhat larger capacity for peak travel.

Initially though if Tesla/TBC want to make formal bids for routes like Chicago DT to O’Hare they need to use only available off the shelf tech which doesn’t include full autonomy on the street. So it’s easier, simpler, cheaper to just put a Pod body without its own battery, drivetrain, AV tech on a Loop Skate and use it just for Pop up transport without driving off of the Skate.
 

mongo

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Also, based on that new video clip, wouldn't installing regular people sized elevators make more sense, to lower people down to the pod/vehicle on the underground roadway? It seems overly complex to have a system to raise and lower the entire vehicle, when it could just stay mounted to the track below, and people could board there. No need to raise and lower the entire "bus" when an existing elevator would work just fine. Typical Elon Musk "engineering."

Putting the pods on an elevator allows the pods to access multiple tunnel levels. It also increases efficency over a smaller people elevator traveling to a load/unload platform. And it keeps people off the tracks/ out of the pods path.
You could also stage multiple pod at surface level then send them all off (more than one parking spot needed, but handy at the end of the day) if you can avoid the traveling into pedestrians issue.
 
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Many articles came out about this at the same time, but I think they're all confusing "Hyperloop" with this new, updated "urban loop" concept.

Hyperloop is the large, long distance, low pressure tubes where pods travel at very high speeds:

Hyperloop - Wikipedia


This is very different from these metro pods/carts that run on pavement below ground at 150 mph and have lots of small boarding stations. That's not Hyperloop.

Also, based on that new video clip, wouldn't installing regular people sized elevators make more sense, to lower people down to the pod/vehicle on the underground roadway? It seems overly complex to have a system to raise and lower the entire vehicle, when it could just stay mounted to the track below, and people could board there. No need to raise and lower the entire "bus" when an existing elevator would work just fine. Typical Elon Musk "engineering."

Loop is distinct from Hyperloop but part of the same system idea. The tunnels for Loop can hold a vacuum potentially so stretches of tunnel can be repurposed if it’s useful. TBC could for example build Baltimore to DC and start it up as Loop but after they build Loop from NY to Philly and Philly to Baltimore take the long stretches of Loop tunnel, put in airlocks and vacuum pumps and turn them into Hyperloop.

There’s been nothing from TBC about it but the same Pods carried by Skates might roll into Hyperloop Carriers and travel intercity at 4x the speed. In that case there might be no hyperloop stations, just an integrated system.

Using people elevators would sacrifice the flexibility that’s the essence of the system. As it is it can carry many types of vehicles as well as acting like a pop up subway. The subway can’t deliver EMS or police cars or be easily adapted to let its cars roll off and travel as AVs on the street.
 
Putting the pods on an elevator allows the pods to access multiple tunnel levels. It also increases efficency over a smaller people elevator traveling to a load/unload platform. And it keeps people off the tracks/ out of the pods path.
You could also stage multiple pod at surface level then send them all off (more than one parking spot needed, but handy at the end of the day) if you can avoid the traveling into pedestrians issue.

Plus it allows the system to continue to work just as was emphasized in the original video, moving a variety of vehicles at high speeds under the city. That system lets an EMS vehicle pop up and drive away even at a site normally intended for boarding pop up pods.
 
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HankLloydRight

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Loop is distinct from Hyperloop but part of the same system idea. The tunnels for Loop can hold a vacuum potentially so stretches of tunnel can be repurposed if it’s useful. TBC could for example build Baltimore to DC and start it up as Loop but after they build Loop from NY to Philly and Philly to Baltimore take the long stretches of Loop tunnel, put in airlocks and vacuum pumps and turn them into Hyperloop.

There’s been nothing from TBC about it but the same Pods carried by Skates might roll into Hyperloop Carriers and travel intercity at 4x the speed. In that case there might be no hyperloop stations, just an integrated system.

Using people elevators would sacrifice the flexibility that’s the essence of the system. As it is it can carry many types of vehicles as well as acting like a pop up subway. The subway can’t deliver EMS or police cars or be easily adapted to let its cars roll off and travel as AVs on the street.

I really don't think the systems are compatible. It does not look at all like the urban loop tunnels can be depressurized as pods would be entering and exiting it constantly. And the pods aren't shaped for the hyperloop type tunnels operating at a near vacuum to reduce drag. Their propulsion systems are different, too. Other than sounding like your assertions are plausible, there's so much that just doesn't fit. They are not the same systems.. one system can not just interchange with the other. The only thing they have in common is tunnels.
 

HankLloydRight

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Plus it allows the system to continue to work just as was emphasized in the original video,

And I think they're slowly backing away from the original video because they realized how difficult it will be to handle different vehicles, sizes, dimensions, weights, propulsion, etc. They're moving to this all-pedestrain model because they can control much more of the eco-system.
 
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HankLloydRight

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Putting the pods on an elevator allows the pods to access multiple tunnel levels. I

Doesn't make sense. The pods start somewhere and can change levels with ramps between stations and meet people at any level as needed. It seems like engineering overkill to build huge elevators for pods when the only purpose they serve is to move people into the system. Move the people down to the proper level where the pods are already waiting. These problems have all been solved with subways dating back a hundred years. You don't see subways going to the surface to pick up people then going back underground.

And it keeps people off the tracks/ out of the pods path.

The pods already are pulling off the main drag to load/unload passengers. Nobody is walking on tracks or in a pods path. Ever heard of a subway or train loading platform?
 

mongo

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Doesn't make sense. The pods start somewhere and can change levels with ramps between stations and meet people at any level as needed. It seems like engineering overkill to build huge elevators for pods when the only purpose they serve is to move people into the system.

It eliminates/reduces tunnel ramps. Tunnel intersections on the same plane are easier to engineering than ramping ones. Level travel is also better on passengers.

Concider the system as a packet switched network with fault tolerance, not a point to point system. The pod's final route might not be calculated until it gets to the tunnel. No way (with mulitple levels of platform) for a person to know which to go to.

Pod elevator: one trip up, one trip down maximum time efficency.

People elevator: multiple trips each way. Concider a multilevel platform system, if the elevator only holds half a car load and returns to bottom (standard approach) how long till middle level people get out? (Or try to ride it down to go up?)

Edit: setting this up for bicyclists also makes the people elevator less feasible. Can roll your bike into the pod (possibly add bike racks to the ends like busses now have)

Also consider that the elevator 'could' rotate the pods for E-W vs N-S runs.

Nobody is walking on tracks or in a pods path. Ever heard of a subway or train loading platform?
Yep, exactly what I'm trying to avoid.
Strangers Punch Man Into Path of Manhattan Subway: Cops
https://nypost.com/2018/01/11/woman-gets-trapped-under-subway-car/
Man emerges from underneath New York subway car unscathed — and unconcerned
Platforms also require a lot more excavation. They either have to dig out the entire thing to the surface, or make the tunnels wider. (Unless they are working in solid rock)
Pod elevators are just straight shafts to the existing tunnel.
 
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HankLloydRight

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So you're going to have just one pod elevator? Isn't that going to get really, really congested waiting for all these pods to go up and down? That just sounds dumb.

Yep, exactly what I'm trying to avoid.

Oh please, the number of those kinds of accidents compared to the hundreds of millions of times a day it doesn't happen is miniscule. That's like saying you're trying to avoid commercial air travel because of all the accidents. Try again. There are plenty of solutions to allow a standard passenger elevator (which bikes fit fine in, BTW, thanks for the hyperbole), which just go down to the right level and the doors open up to a waiting pod that arrived JIT, no platform needed. You're trying to explain a solution to a problem that just doesn't exist.

Finally, I don't think we'll ever see this 'urban loop' concept ever fully implemented with thousands of stops and multi-levels. It surely makes a nice video, but does it really solve any problems with pedestrians? The original idea was to reduce vehicular traffic. Now that's out of the picture. How much is it going to cost to tunnel and build out this infrastructure? How much is it going to cost the average user? Subways and busses and taxis have solved this problem a hundred years ago. While none are perfect, the urban loop isn't perfect either (and it's still not Hyperloop in any way shape or form). What is a single ride going to cost? $10? $20? At that rate, most ordinary people are going to take a subway or a bus or just, oh my gosh, WALK.
 

mongo

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So you're going to have just one pod elevator? Isn't that going to get really, really congested waiting for all these pods to go up and down? That just sounds dumb.
There are plenty of solutions to allow a standard passenger elevator (which bikes fit fine in, BTW, thanks for the hyperbole), which just go down to the right level and the doors open up to a waiting pod that arrived JIT, no platform needed.

First off, a bicycle takes up more room and is less easy to fit in an elevator than people are. How is that hyperbole?

Second, are you saying a pod elevator is slow but a people elevator that loads a pod in one trip (so at least the same size as the pod interior), including unloading the people on the pod, isn't? How do the elevator people and the people in the pod exchange places? Is the elevator larger than the pod? Same size with entrance and exit ends?

Option 1:
People wait at street level
Pod ascends
People get off
People get on
Pod descends
Pod leaves
Pod arrives
Repeat

Option 2 evekator no platform:
People stand at elevator at street level
Elevator ascends
People get off elevator
People get on elevator
Elevator descends
People swap from pod to elevator. Some find out they won't fit due to people continuing on pod. (People out = People in so elevator size is not an issue)
Elevator ascends / pod departs
Pod arrives
People on pod wait for elevator

The pod and elevator can ascend/ descend at the same speed. I'm open to an option 3.

Oh please, the number of those kinds of accidents compared to the hundreds of millions of times a day it doesn't happen is miniscule.

But it does happen, it is a problem that would be good to solve and was a reply to your statement
Nobody is walking on tracks or in a pods path.
.

You're trying to explain a solution to a problem that just doesn't exist.

I'm trying to explain the potential benefits of the approach that you were discussing.

surely makes a nice video, but does it really solve any problems with pedestrians? The original idea was to reduce vehicular traffic. Now that's out of the picture.

Vehicles exist to get people from place to place. If you transport the people in the tunnel system, the number of cars is reduced.
Look at Taxis, hauling one or two people or empty and waiting. If there were a system that provided equivilent convenience at equivilent price, and avoided traffic, would that not cut into the number of cars?

Subways and busses and taxis have solved this problem a hundred years ago. While none are perfect, the urban loop isn't perfect either (and it's still not Hyperloop in any way shape or form). What is a single ride going to cost? $10? $20? At that rate, most ordinary people are going to take a subway or a bus or just, oh my gosh, WALK.

No one is saying the Bring system is perfect. Subways are great for point A to point B if A and B are where you are/ want to be. If not, it could be bus (possibly a transfer) to subway (possibly a transfer) to bus (possibly a transfer) with total trip time dependant on traffic and ridership and hours of operation. Compare that to (long term view) pods station to pod station within a block of goal with max travel time control.

Chicago has a RFQ open for a way to get people from downtown to O'Hare in under twenty minutes. Taxi and bus are not cutting it and you aren't going to walk it. The ride cost will have to be competitive (Tribune article proposed $25) since it is all self funded construction/ operation.
 

HankLloydRight

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The Pod Elevator idea was necessary when the idea was to take any car down into the tunnels and transport it to Point y. Now that that part of the equation is gone, I see absolutely no need to raise and lower dedicated pods up and down when you're only dealing with pedestrians. Standard elevators will do just fine. And instead of pods, let's just call them what they are -- Trams.

Chicago has a RFQ open for a way to get people from downtown to O'Hare in under twenty minutes.

But that is exactly Point A to Point B (not Point x to Point y) That's the only scenario I think the urban loop concept might work. But then it's really no different than the autonomous airport shuttle trams that run between terminals that have existed for decades. They have enclosed platforms, double doors, people exit on one side and enter on the other -- no reason people couldn't exit at one end and enter on the other.

This idea of an underground network of tunnels with millions of different paths each tram could take would only work if one is designing and building a city from the ground up. It's not something you can build underneath cities with existing infrastructure, buildings, subways, utilities, water/sewer lines, all which would have to be relocated to make room for all this multi-level tunnel system. Boston's Big Dig took 16 years and 14 billion dollars to complete, and that was moving just one roadway underground and dig one tunnel. I don't care which city Elon picks, he's not going to be able to tunnel bore that many tunnels under any existing city.

Now I don't doubt that he'll find some empty land somewhere and just build his own secret lair city.
 

mongo

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The Pod Elevator idea was necessary when the idea was to take any car down into the tunnels and transport it to Point y. Now that that part of the equation is gone, I see absolutely no need to raise and lower dedicated pods up and down when you're only dealing with pedestrians. Standard elevators will do just fine. And instead of pods, let's just call them what they are -- Trams.



But that is exactly Point A to Point B (not Point x to Point y) That's the only scenario I think the urban loop concept might work. But then it's really no different than the autonomous airport shuttle trams that run between terminals that have existed for decades. They have enclosed platforms, double doors, people exit on one side and enter on the other -- no reason people couldn't exit at one end and enter on the other.

This idea of an underground network of tunnels with millions of different paths each tram could take would only work if one is designing and building a city from the ground up. It's not something you can build underneath cities with existing infrastructure, buildings, subways, utilities, water/sewer lines, all which would have to be relocated to make room for all this multi-level tunnel system. Boston's Big Dig took 16 years and 14 billion dollars to complete, and that was moving just one roadway underground and dig one tunnel. I don't care which city Elon picks, he's not going to be able to tunnel bore that many tunnels under any existing city.

Now I don't doubt that he'll find some empty land somewhere and just build his own secret lair city.

You can call them trams if you want, but I usually equate that to tracked vehicles.

Chicago is only point to point if there is one downtown stop, but it was an example of taxi and bus not fulfilling the transportation need more that a case study in loop tunnels.

Airport trams have platforms. Plat forms require extra excavation or else double doors require elevators the size of the tram/pod. The only possible gain is the P/T arrival/departure can occur in parallel with the elevator travel.

Infrastructure is not a big issue if they go down two tunnel diameters, the only things I can think of that deep are possibly other tunnels and maybe storm drains. Staying under existing roads prevents issues with building foundations.
Long term they could have stops at building basements.
Elevators only need a slightly oversized pod/tram gap in utilities to be dug/ installed.

Big dig is a completely different thing.
 

HankLloydRight

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You can call them trams if you want, but I usually equate that to tracked vehicles.

The video doesn't show the pods on a track?

Looks like tracks to me. Even if it's just one center slot.

nfrastructure is not a big issue if they go down two tunnel diameters, t

The deeper you go, the more time and money it takes.
 

mongo

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The video doesn't show the pods on a track?

Looks like tracks to me. Even if it's just one center slot.

Hyperloop has been tracked, possibly roller coaster style.

Loop is showing a center something, previous video showed distinct side wheels. If it uses tracks, it adds in that cost plus the cost and complexity of switches and discontinuities as a result. Center could be for guidance.

The deeper you go, the more time and money it takes.

Only for elevators, tunnels are fairly depth agnostic (above/ below water table exclusive)
 

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