“There’s a challenge of flying cars in that they’ll be quite noisy,” says Elon Musk, describing the work of his new project, The Boring Company. “If something’s flying over your head, a whole bunch of flying cars going all over the place, that is not an anxiety-reducing situation … You’ll be thinking, ‘Did they service their hubcap, or is it going to come off and guillotine me?’”
His Solution? “We’re trying to dig a hole under LA, and this is to create the beginning of what will be a 3D network of tunnels to alleviate congestion,” says Elon Musk.
Take a look at the video of what this system could look like, with an electric car-skate attached to an elevator from street level that brings your car vertically underground into a tunnel. There’s no speed limit in the tunnel — and the car-skates are being designed to achieve speeds of 200 km/h, or about 130 mph. “You should be able to get from Westwood to LAX in 5-6 minutes,” Musk says.
What’s happening at Tesla?
Tesla Model 3 is coming in July, Musk says, and it’ll have a special feature: autopilot. Using only passive optical cameras and GPS, no LIDAR, the Model 3 will be capable of autonomous driving. “Once you solve cameras for vision, autonomy is solved; if you don’t solve vision, it’s not solved … You can absolutely be superhuman with just cameras.”
Musk says that Tesla is on track for completing a fully autonomous, cross-country LA to New York trip by the end of 2017. “November or December of this year, we should be able to go from a parking lot in California to a parking lot in New York, no controls touched at any point during the entire journey,” Musk says.
More news from Tesla: a semi truck, which Musk reveals with a teaser photo. It’s a heavy-duty, long-range semi meant to alleviate heavy-duty trucking. “With the Tesla Semi, we want to show that an electric truck actually can out-torque any diesel semi. If you had a tug of war competition, the Tesla Semi will tug the diesel semi uphill,” Musk says. And it’s nimble — it can be driven around “like a sports car,” he says.
What else is going electric?
Musk talks about his vision for the home of the future by mentioning Powerwalls on the side of houses and a solar glass roof. Most houses in the US, he says, have enough roof area for solar panels to power all the needs of the house. “Eventually almost all houses will have a solar roof. Fast forward 15 years from now, it’ll be unusual to have a roof that doesn’t have solar.”
And to store all that electricity needed to power our homes and cars, Musk has made a huge bet on lithium-ion batteries. Gigafactory, a massive diamond-shaped lithium-ion battery factory near Sparks, Nevada, Musk says, “When it’s running full speed, you can’t see the cells without a strobe light.” Musk thinks we’ll need about 100 such factories to power the world in a future where we don’t feel guilty about using and producing energy, and Tesla plans to announce locations for another four Gigafactories late this year. “We need to address a global market,” Musk says, hinting that the new factories will be spread out across the world.