Future Collision Estimators, Get a Load of Elon Musk's Boring New Idea
May 17, 2017
Traffic is bad for us. It wastes time, causes stress, and can also cause added wear and tear to a car’s engine. Things like better public transportation, self-driving cars, and even encouraging people to live closer to where they work have been suggested as ways to fix traffic, but these aren’t as exciting as Elon Musk’s “boring” idea.
Musk wants to make it much faster and cheaper to bore enormous tunnels beneath cities. Having many stories of tunnels for cars to move through, he proposes, will fix our aboveground traffic problem.
Does he have a point, or is this idea a bad one? Here are some considerations for future collision estimation professionals.
Traffic Correlates With More Accidents—And Musk’s Concept Could Create Traffic
How do you get cars on street level down to tunnels several stories below the ground? If we’re to believe Elon Musk’s concept, it’s by using specialty drive-on elevators that will take cars where they need to go. Here’s a look at the idea in action:
Unfortunately, there’s a potential flaw inherent to this plan. There would be a limited number of entry points to this tunnel system, and a relatively slow elevator would mean that multiple cars attempting to enter could be forced to wait. This could mean little pockets of traffic popping up around a city.
A higher concentration of traffic is associated with a higher number of traffic accidents, so this could present a pretty significant problem. Working as a collision estimator in a future filled with Elon Musk’s tunnel systems might mean seeing a number of accidents pop up as a result of this development.
Collision Estimators May Be Interested in the Tunnel Track Systems
Pay attention to the video above and you’ll notice that cars in the tunnels don’t drive themselves. Instead, they’re shipped around by large metal sleds on a system of rails—which could be capable of travelling at 200 km/h.
While the speed may be a little intimidating, using a system of rails to move cars when they are in the tunnels would hopefully reduce the likelihood of poor driving slowing traffic down, and of collisions occurring between cars. It would likely be quite easy to maintain consistent speed and distance away from other vehicles across the tunnel network. Whatever the case for accidents aboveground, it’s likely that an auto body estimator would rarely see any cars coming in damaged from collisions in these proposed tunnels.
No Matter How Well it Works, Collision Estimators Won’t See This Idea for a While
“The Boring Company,” as it is known, is brand new, and has yet to even start on any of its ambitious plans; there are no long-distance tunnels bored, no subterranean sled systems built. For that reason, it’s impossible to know when or how its ideas might be implemented in the real world.
The system displayed in the video above is incredibly extensive and elaborate, and would require significant funding and years of building to achieve. Even if construction started tomorrow, it would take a long time before something useful would take shape. For that reason, you might not see this sort of high-speed, multi-level tunnel during your career—or at least for many years to come.
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