4 min read

Disrupting Traffic Jams

May 15, 2017

At the TED conference last Friday, Elon Musk said, “Traffic is one of the most soul-destroying things.”

If you hate traffic jams too, this blog may give you hope.

Some people think autonomous vehicles will solve congestion, but in reality, if electric autonomous cars drop the cost of transport 5x – 10x, car usage could increase dramatically and traffic could potentially increase.

So what are we going to do?

Just last week...

Three major developments in transportation were announced last week.

They represent two different strategies to solving the traffic problem: taking to the air and tunneling underground.

Here’s what happened this week:

1. Kitty Hawk: The stealth company Kitty Hawk (backed by Alphabet CEO, Larry Page) announced its first product -- the Kitty Hawk Flyer – and released its first video of a prototype vehicle. (I just put down a $100 deposit on the website to reserve mine.)

While at TED, I had lunch with Sebastian Thrun, CEO of Kitty Hawk. Sebastian is brilliant, the previous head of Google’s autonomous vehicle efforts and professor of Artificial Intelligence at Stanford. It's clear that the Kitty Hawk Flyer is just a small peek at what’s to come.

It's also clear that in the long run, autonomous VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) transporters may actually be easier and safer than autonomous transport on the ground.

For those of you interested in your own KH Flyer, check out this video:

 

2. Uber Elevate: While I was at TED, my friend Jeff Holden, the Chief Product Officer of Uber, was announcing Uber’s plans to deploy a network of flying cars in Dallas, Texas and Dubai, UAE by 2020.

This is part of Uber’s on-demand urban air transportation initiative called Uber Elevate.

Holden hosted a three-day summit this week to build awareness about Elevate’s mission and define a path towards initial urban eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) operations.

Check out a quick Uber Elevate video here: 

 

3. The Boring Company – Digging Underground: Also this week, Elon Musk's 'Boring Company' revealed its massive tunneling equipment and plans to dig tunnels under Los Angeles.

For context, a few months ago, Musk announced his interest in digging underground tunnels for cars to reduce traffic, launching a company called The Boring Company.

His vision (for the fellow Angelenos out there) involves being able to travel from "Westwood to LAX in 6 min"… which could otherwise take an hour during rush hour.

Current state-of-the-art tunneling technology is very slow and expensive (for reference, subway extension projects today cost about $1 billion per mile, and a snail can travel 14x faster than current tunneling tech).

The Boring Company aims to create a 10x improvement in the price of tunneling.

Like the air, there is a lot of space underground. You can build an arbitrary number of levels of tunnels based on need.

And while air-based approaches raise complaints ranging from noise to distraction, if you dig deep enough underground (around 4 tunnel diameters), people on the surface can’t even detect tunneling activity.

As tunneling continues to drop in price, you can expect Hyperloop One technology to be deployed in these tunnels as well.

Take a look at this video for a better idea of how this would work.

 

The Future IS Inspiring

As Musk also mentioned at TED, "It's important to have a future that is inspiring "

I couldn’t agree more.

We live in the most exciting time to be alive in human history. There are no problems we can’t solve... including L.A. traffic jams.

Keep your mind open to the possibilities and help me create a world of Abundance!

Also read: TOP 50 MOON SHOTS (2000 - 2020)

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Topics: Transportation
Peter H. Diamandis

Written by Peter H. Diamandis

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