Pragmatic 81: Boring Loops

30 June, 2017


Elon Musk is considered by many to be a technological visionary. In this, the first in a series of shows about Elons projects, we look at Hyperloop and The Boring Company and the practicalities of what Elon’s trying to achieve.
Transcript available
Welcome to pragmatic in pragmatic is a discussion to clean the practical application of technology like spring will train us with great ideas are transformed into products and services and can change how long nothing is as simple as it seems on your host John Geagea and today I'm joined by Vic Hudson has gone Victor Joe Barry doing better how much do you know about arm and one mask & side projects are mainly just like the highways that they reached the news at all following too closely anything the following into a little are dull the Excel Czech Republic securities I was dumb that one of things I thought it'd be interesting and to do a couple episodes that that focus on some of the different things that Alan musk is working on because I feel like arm in a world that where Steve jobs is no longer with us our entrepreneur really speaking I think Alan musk is one of the big names of people that are you stepping outside the box doing stuff that is a bit out there and there's a whole bunch to talk about but I got I want to kick it off with two of his more recent and unusual side projects so I mean obviously on musk is the man behind our Taz Lauren space X but more recently he's been messing around with tubes in boring stuff which Sultan up vacuum tubes no no no no no saviour if you have this thing called hyper loop I have so how would you describe hyper loop exactly are well from what I understand which is probably very little is a window to dip into it. A few casual conversations about it's gotta be sorrel a.k.a. an enclosed little bullet train system you bring much bulletin board chain bullet train in a tube yet arm so lopsided as a vacuum to come that's true actually write up sorry silly me quite right answer you in July 2012 Alan musk mentioned in the yard penned a daily event he was thinking about 1/5 mode of transport and later recall that hyper loop and down the idea is that you build a hollow tube most likely made out of steel and that you remove as much of the air as you can from the tube that creates a partial vacuum is not a full vacuum it's partial or then you get a capsule the idea so it doesn't provide any resistance against the carriage rate yet exactly to the idea exactly right because Dragon is one of the biggest things you're fighting arm when you try to go really fast in Earth's atmosphere and assure you what even if you're a plane right because in a plane is one of those dichotomies on the one hand you need the air to give you left on the other hand the air slowing down so near it's frustrating it's a never-ending argument that the plan is having with the sky never mind that the S site is a general idea and you have a capsule or a pod or whatever home I caught you like that in the tube and you propelled along at high speed and all seems recall that Alan arm musk originally suggested that it would sit on a bed of air but if you think about it if you recycle the area it's going pretty hard to achieve so here are a little problem with that you its hallway when I was a child that sounds like this thing really was, rocket to okay and it was you put it together think of a racetrack you know yet pieces of track that you put together and make an oval but it was I any close to the top of it was clear plastic the bottom of it was dark-coloured and at one end of at one end of the loop so you had bleaker an entrance into the loop like a pinball where you know you have been issued to Napoleon you get a loop with an appendage at the end of the appendage was as big blower fan and he had his little carriages that look like a cough and shape you but that the two mini failure thing up and it had this really noisy fan with a little to which you Arabella. You should relate to our call it was cold it was, rocket to all man sounds really awesome I do nothing like that name anything I have seen anything quite like that sounds really where I are unaware that for a racetrack about what we guard warfare and often quite pretty because this is like a billion next year we gather with the next year we did racetrack fill out our Fine safety gave the yes nice I caught while googling the rocket to now the CFO, Google rocket UK well then so you can satirise from milling I can jump in Shannon's and that if you find what was under if I find the real thing yes not not the other stuff you might be actually finding in here so long so when they go he go up on the idea of a better variance from becoming maglev rights are magnetic levitation, nothing arm and the ideas are yet linear induction motor nuts can accelerate one end and decelerate the pod at the other end and maybe have a couple of boosters along the way if you need it to keep the momentum going arm because even at a very low air pressure you will still get a build up in front of the pod discuss slowing down so the other concept was that you would have a high-speed data inlet suction fan upfront and some some tubing to take that air to the back and then basically a young offender the back to arm or air compressor sorry at the back to one help to alleviate any pressure got the front and provide additional arm potentially propulsion I suppose probably not much anyway but the idea is that you will never be motor on board set out to carry around fuel down to carry around engine arm yea Proby battery-powered ends and so on so technically would be self-propelled exactly and that anyone updating original concept was that you have these are passenger only pods and that original dimensions in the original concept design was a song that would be a 7'4" which is about 2.23 m in diameter and a projected top speed of a pod are was about 760 miles an hour which is 1220 km an hour which is pretty Pres are pretty zippy and the maximum acceleration is about half the G which is near not too bad arm not as much is your favourite rollercoaster but certainly did give notice arm knee compare that with the fastest passenger trains in the world that the TGV is and they run at 357 miles an hour less violence only 5 km an hour arm which is very fast but yet it's like half the speed of this thing the last maglev train if you want because at steel rails right but if you make a levy go faster problem maglev is there's not many passenger trains around the world that are maglev that are that fast there are a couple of experimental ones on that run the experimental tracks that spike proof of concept and the Japanese maglev is at the moment that the L0 series hold the record of 375 miles an hour which is 603 km an hour to still half the speed of the Ya proposed hyper loop pods but I was the original design anyway arm is three major companies building hyper loop technology arm and none of them are really affiliated with Alan musk or space X and arm space X build a test track hard but they are actually developing the technology much beyond that arm so the street comes it is a lot of good denying things for their own reasons that's arm anyway arm to harass the idea anyway and and and the idea is that it would be quite must quicker and cheaper than building a high-speed train which is what is try to get around psyche as skins way to go is the future as the fifth motor transportation but the funding is all digging into there's something about calloused estimates of the problems because it is nicely a new idea there was actually a pneumatic arm very short short distance railway kind of subway system actually in London there for a little while and there was one the US as well back in the yard 19th-century arm is actually not a new idea my mind you not very fast and not very far arm but anyway is not a new idea exactly that arm anyway so we think it through brother pods is stuck in a steel tube and sky be a strong steel tube which means no ghosts no windows only pod note no windows in the tunnel you're in CB and you be in a cylinder steel cylinder Django see much arm now there'd be you be subjected inside that cylinder tour I was a not insignificant amount of noise and vibration because the high-speed airflow that is going around the pod and the air compressor and the inlet fan that sky be gonna create some vibration and some noise and even a partial vacuum you know so that's that sky be interesting so how you deal with evacuations that can be a little bit problematic because you need to build emergency escape hatches and along the length of the tube every so many arm you hundred hundred feet or whatever and every single connection everyone every hatch every joint in those tubes need to be very well sealed otherwise give vacuum partial vacuums in the last arm leg like a sieve because I kinda thought about it it's kinda like arm like a jumping castle in reverse so a jumping castle arm we gave up on the idea that you could seal every hole or every seem against every potential like the leak so if you accept the doors and leave the matter what you do you just continuously pump new area of a jumping castle to keep it inflated was on jump site you might get a rush of air leak out of it because of the extra pressure but generally speaking I give you a visa jumping castle when it gets wet like in the rain is 70% notable air bubbles going up there yet so these things are now so these things are always leaking this is really really hard to keep them fully sealed so hyper loop I figure would still be back that same problem in reverse which is you need to have dozens and dozens of air remove all extraction fans to try and keep that near vacuum maintained because if you didn't eventually FPS I would would be drawn into the tube and your just get a lot of air and air a lot of friction and that would just negate the whole value of arm and I also think that arm given the distributed nature of the pipework is a huge volume you go evacuate all the time of air see only a lot of these extraction fans across the entire length of it so that's potentially problematic arm is able all those lean power and and so on anyway so ignoring those common issues of a mechanical failure right so you know the most likely failure of a pod would basically be rapid deceleration if the tube was broken or kinked or bent or damaged there is no derailment because no rails are but if you do have a rapid deceleration which you could get a high-speed rail high-speed train if it went off the tracks I suppose hit something arm I guess that's a positive because a cargo of rails but still arm so if it does actually get stuck with a pod gets damaged what will happen if there is a depressurisation of the pod because we think about it outside the steel tube is atmospheric pressure inside out tubes of vacuum inside the pod is atmospheric pressure have so if you actually got a leak in the pod in the pods inside the tube then the pod would only get our experience like every shot of your specialist properly grow each year exactly so that it lost its air supply is stuck in a steel tube without a breathable atmosphere and the pressure of the design was one minibar which is 100 Pa of pressure at nothing to standard atmospheric is 101.3 to 5 kPa which is 1013 mbar right in a person can survive a human being can survive down as low as 61.8 mbar which is 6.18 kPa so that's is like 6180 Pa and this is only 100 Pa is no way humour could survive because at that level the water in your Boylston in the blood starts to boil and is generally considered to be bad painful bad and lethal as well as all three arm and that that dilemma is just recently told me about that low boiling point cool in the funny thing is exactly called the Armstrong limit and for the longest time I thought I was named after Neil Armstrong because lying here he had some to do a space and walking on the moon stuff depending on history to the point is exactly wasn't was named after Harry George while I wait wait wait wait wait go back depending on who you speak to there are certain. I you are one of those are you one of those what crazy people that say we did go to the moon Held we went to the moon man I love the following photos of that lunar reconnaissance orbiter when I think was a lunar reconnaissance orbiter and they took photos high-res photos of the surface and it's like I will allow this to continue arm like Dick did we go to the moon yesterday, I believe we yes same here so that this is the thing that is like you could see the tracks from the rovers that they'd that the different landing sites had made any could see the Rover and the could see the flag just and it's like all of the conspiracy there is like a caliphate that there year the world is real were on the matrix anyway so if it had been oaks and it was fake they just don't think they really truly kept it secret all this time and I guess obviously with lots of people out there that that don't believe it and speculating and particulate that there we didn't that there are deftly some doubt about it but age seems like we have some some concrete evidence by now if if it had been faked to mankind incontrovertible evidence that they have proof faked the truth of it is that arm when it comes to faking stuff people are really bad here and and and they do our day and age you plane it simply couldn't forget that you just you could but anyway so not not not wishing to debate that exactly that arm in any case go Armstrong limit okay so this is the visitor problem and it was discovered in the early days the space program right so arm so bottom line if he was exposed to the pressure inside hyper loop tube without the pod to protect them they die pretty quickly you and pretty convincingly so if there was a depressurisation the pod you need to stop it isolate the section of the tube it was in open and inward, airlock thing might not like a blow out valvular blowing valve I guess to let air in from the outside that section of the tube and you have to really really really really quickly otherwise have quite a few multiple fatalities is not so good arm anyway so it gets better so arm when he put the tubes then you got a couple of options really wide three options above the ground below the ground or along the ground go along in the ground seem safest to me yeah and that is actually one of the things will get to a second AC bit going along the ground doesn't make the construction costs much different from roads except technically would need to make as wide but you or at railway line I guess that you deal with cuttings cut into the ground and you tried looking at level the arm but anyway so that was originally musk's suggestion he originally envisaged an elevated tube above the ground on pylons arm but the problem with that is that elevated tubes are still expensive and when the analysis first looked into it they compared it and they said well elevated roads elevated railways are more expensive than those on the ground therefore so too would a knowledge tube biogas seems like out of a vulnerable position for such a volatile system to units also true but I also thing on a costing side of things though I don't necessarily agree with the analysis originally because arm these steel tubes should not be as heavy as a yarn is a rail line with all of the sleepers in the ballast and the older concrete and so on so I think yeah maybe it's not quite you would need as far as big pylons and be as strong pylons I would think you Caprice have been made on foundations and stuff irrespective I think probably underground as it is more what they had in mind arm and yet so with that in mind if I put was gonna go underground there is one problem and that is tunnelling is really expensive and it's really slow and that brings us to Alan musk's next level venture which is really boring you get what I mean yet I think maybe tunnel boring machines all year now this is one of the things I love doesn't love to delegate a whole damn straightman get our shovel let's get cracking in the thing is I love this about Alan musk right and I also get scary at the same time into orbit millionaire syndrome arm relic where every random thought become something messing millions of dollars into just because they can and here we go so stuck in traffic visitor what happened literally in LA one day and annoying Alan musk sent the following tweets traffic is driving me nuts I am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging while assuming he wasn't driving at this point because that tweet went out at 11:05 PM on 17 December you he then is 2016 this is literally only 56 months ago he then follows it up about an hour and 10 minutes later and he says there it shall be called the boring company and I like half some of the sky and then of course please get the budget to make this happen yes he does so a few more hours later to 17 he says back I am actually going to do this so those were three tweets that were the beginning of the boring company which is just like I am flabbergasted right is like that's the stream of consciousness that comes out of Alan musk's brain and is like you know what I'm a bit pest with traffic system start a company to build titles why not so as you do as you do right here is a cause you to John Fabbri this year the boring company had been formed and they actually began digging out the back of the space X officers in Los Angeles because they could without the you really need a better reason apparently not Ida Celeste started with a 9 m wide by 15 m long by 4 1/2 m are deep true arm testing trench and then by April they bought a second hand tunnel boring machine so they could study the dynamics of how TBM has worked how man so they intend to build a new class of tunnel by that I just mean it's a tunnel but it's different dimensions and its smaller and the little the idea goes that if you make it smaller than its quicker drill it which is obvious and therefore will be cheaper to cut through the ground which may or may not be true but will just run with that the minute now I watched the TED talk that musk was interviewed wasn't more talk was much that was an interview and I was in April and day was great watched the Lincoln assurance really ragged and it is our meal to get through the TED TED talk our app we have also got asked really good stuff in there little log dribbling thereto but there's some good stuff anyway are in April he said that dumb current road tolls were required by legislation in America at least to be between 26 to 28 feet which is 8 1/2 m in diameter next that's pretty reasonable that the reason for that is because you need to have emergency response you have more than one lane hour and he also said you needed ventilation for combustion engine vehicles I like to think you need ventilation for the human so they don't suffocate to just the thought anyway United is just a detailed minor detail sent out he then went on to say that the boring company were instead looking to build a 12 foot or 3 1/2 m diameter tunnel instead so that's not that big you know you so if you halve the diameter and this is the rough back of the napkin calculations that he is doing during the TED talk so halve the diameter leads to 1/4 of the cross-section that you have to cut through roughly correct arm so good enough which therefore means should be cut four times faster or that assumes that your cutting rate is linear which it isn't but it's probably close enough so let's say may be about four maybes only 3 1/2 times it all depends into Bangalore things right depends on the quality material your cutting through it also there is the assumption that the material you cut through as it is consistent from the top to the bottom of the cutting face so any case so another subject that's okay he then goes on about loading concrete segments behind the TBM to reinforce the tunnel wall and he said that heat you could do that more efficiently arm and increases by factor of two are either know about that one that's an interesting one so arm how much Jesse Hammerstein about TBM is a victim are not much okay while the basic concept is you have arm in them in the front of it you have a round wheel that is called the cutting head and then behind that arm connecting and only got a series of hydraulic arm rams and then behind that arm you've got basically a casing section that expands and essentially is your anchor or gripping point on the tunnel and the tunnel itself tunnel wall behind that you then have the car and the car itself is a cycle along chain of of of cob rooms that really got like electrical switch room in motors gearboxes all the other rubbish and behind that arm you will have your arm reinforcing our handling section and then you've got your trailing cables and trailing cables go back to give you your electricity is all electric while these days is because it's too dangerous to run arm the diesel is much cleaner to run electric and the basic idea is that so the car moves forward and stops in position with a hydraulic ram to fully read arm fully retracted our again puts it then the hydraulics then drive the group that the groups out onto the actual outside wall of the tunnel and then they start the cutting head turning on and then they start very very slowly driving the cutting head arm into the Kong into the dirt the rock and dirt and insider cutting head there several flutes and the flutes basically direct all that rubble down towards the central arm shoot and that central studio goes on the conveyor conveyor goes down through the through the car out the back and out to the surface whether whether young yet the rubble is stockpiled or carried away by trucks so I documentary about them building a big tunnel somewhere ethic in Europe you not TBM is showed some of this TBM is a really really cool and I had that the great is our fortune to work on a tunnel here in Brisbane are about decade ago was the year at the time it was called the north-south bypass tunnel but it was renamed the Clem seven and this particular tunnel was 4.6 km long and it went goes down the Brisbane River and down it was there to titles and down to TBM's northbound and southbound are lanes and the yah it was is quite an education going through there because you basically go through the mining regulations rebuilding them are you gotta have all the usual things like you have self-contained breathing apparatus training are the little there's these mining rescue rooms all sorts of stuff you go ventilation is everything and the stuff that they do in there because of tunnel construction is quite quite amazing really because you got a bigger extend the group extend the conveyor belt to take out all the rubble and they also have to have a supply chain of trucks feeding in all the concrete segments that they put in place after the tunnel is built to shore up the walls so that's what he was talking Maori sewing idea we can get these concrete sections that arm reinforce the tunnel wall and he reckons he could come back by factor of two I suppose we might be referring to is the fact that those concrete segments usually come in quarters or halves and the horses are gonna be obviously as heavy as like the size of the wall tried reinforce over the small wall area then it's can be lighter and the neighbour means you can move them around more more nimbly and that will reduce the amount of tax to fit them they could be what Internet are it's also if you have less arc than I suppose the concrete itself would be thinner so anyway bottom line is factored to a think is a bit presumptuous but hey you know that's wrong with it arm he also claimed he could run TBM is harder than they already are either have no idea that actually makes any sense but Natalie said arm anyway so why arm injury to find out if you guess I but the funny thing is he compared he compared the speed of tunnelling to how fast the snail moves you arm have you ever seen SpongeBob SquarePants arm very few names know that I've ever seen an entire episode that is a pet snail called Gary Wright okay okay and what they've got is a got a pet snail (snail where they've dug a hole in the calling Gary and their goal was to make a TBM that can go faster than Gary because right now TBM is the fastest TBM in the world is 14 times slower than Gary get this I love this guy anyway so so let me let me let me make sure I understand this correctly you inspired Barb they want to build that a low-fat dairy or in-line mask actually competing with Gary arm Ellen musk and his tunnel boring machine trying to compete with a fictional character yes it makes sense you anyway because anyone would want right as you do love a good trick billionaire and straightman damn straight so anyway arm bring on the Ellen okay so arm the goal I think is to then use these titles that they would build with a smaller diameter tubes for two kinds of transportation are the first one would be a dedicated mass transit car of sorts I really just revealed this last week after week before that and it's kinda like a bus but is not bus arm and it's, like a tram but is not tram and sawdust very near okay you can't tell much from the renders old and it's their thinking this year okay whatever the house to describe it think of it like a rectangular room with a couple will not be wheel things on the bottom and it goes into the tube and away goes as I write interesting but the one that he actually took out the TED talk wasn't that set us to work on the to work on some orbit the idea is that they are that they have a sled and out you drive a normal car onto the sled and the sled arm latches on the vehicle and rather than the vehicle propelling itself through the tunnel the sled takes the car right through the tunnel to the sled does all the work it does the propulsion and that way you don't have any issues regarding how fast the car is capable of going so you and the idea was he said about hundred 25 mph or 2 km an hour because obviously you're only restricted by the speed of the sled and the and the amount of air pressure in the tunnel you try to overcome as opposed to the ability of the vehicle that it's carrying is interlinked is missing idea but then of course comes back to hyper loop you could also use the Tulsa hyper loop arm because the tunnels could be operating a partial vacuum because of you build a tunnel to survive the water table you can build tunnel are to survive a partial vacuum because the amount of national partial vacuum is in fact less than that arm that is required to survive the water pressure from the water table yet you so all that kinda makes sense and you can see how hyper loop can fit together with the whole tunnel boring thing and I actually yet before you typing on it though also about the sled idea which is the one he went on about the TED talk now if you take a car… Take it as a more or less right because well that's Allen's car arm anyway it's about 2 m wide quite a wide car 5 m long 1/2 m high and applets about a gap of about 75 cm or 30 inches on each side of the vehicle to the tunnel wall but if you assume that you lose nine or 10 cm on each side of the sled arm because you know you gotta have the car encapsulated within the sled you got wing mirrors you gotta make sure that arm it's capable of fitting different wood vehicles assuming you have a couple guardrails inside people to prevent people from opening their doors accidentally during high happy travel whole bunch of safety things and start your property and lose be clearance their sites April be looking at about 55 cm at about 21 inches on each side's about 2 feet max no matter however you then take into account all curvature and you really actually if you take that wall curvature out then it's less than that again so maybe 18 inches dislikes a taped squeeze year so you'd really don't have that much space to walk up and down as an escape route so the other thing is with tunnels is that TBM is make tunnels around because what they did do everyone, the square cutting head Lavina but anyway so these some tunnels are they typically will have a culvert in the bottom which is basically just like the flat the bottom and create a space underneath that flat spot the do the same at the top sometimes and I'll have that for arm like smoke extraction so you imagine you round circle and sort of I clicked with a flat spot on the top and a flat stop on flat spot on the bottom and your car sits in the middle of a sled you're a bit of space ISI were slightly curved wall and that would be the design but the idea is that the younger culvert at the bottom you put cabling and you could put the sled or guide system for the sled whatever it might be that acceleration technology whatever it might be if it's cable of its maglev or magnetic or whatever hell is right for the maglev everyone wants the maglev anyway so yes but only one anyway so arm the thing is he he did say musk also said he needed to extract the exhaust from combustion engine vehicles are but obviously you still got to evacuate people you've got exaggerate smoke in the case of fires and even in the case of a normal vehicle you still need it's arm the car people in the car to be other breathe air so by cutting the size of that tunnel down you don't alleviate the requirement for having airflow you might reduce some of it but unless you can restrict those tunnels to being used by electric vehicles only the don't hate don't create exhaust which we obey be an option may be that they will be the rule but if you have combustion engine cars and there you would have to tell the tenor engines following the sled so didn't produce a new exhaust because you've cut back the amount of ventilation you got so I note that once a bit iffy you'd need to think that one through and how you would enforce that if you elect combustion vehicles in their anyway so the other thing is when tunnels for vehicles are built these days typically why have one when you can add to twice the price so I'll take the government spending right are they do not move your couple that one out of tonight as our contact arm is arm CNY 28 one we are to twice the price so your they typically will dig two tunnels one next to each other and in the case of the north-south bypass tunnel one was the northbound tunnel was a southbound tunnel and each of the tunnels are built in as a parallel pair and have a cut through between the tunnels every so have many hundreds of feet and you then you they have his machines called a road header and the road header is, like I have described as got one or two or three arm spinning knuckles on the end of an extendable arm, like a crane but manoeuvre more manoeuvrable and it basically just plunges into the dirt and rock wall and just polarises it and gouges holes and cellular road header to dignities between them and then I'll do one quick set down shot creep whatever onto it and that'll basically solidify and hey presto you've got an emergency escape now so you can now go from the northbound of the southbound tunnel via these emergency and exit ways in some cases they will likely have a mini boring machine that runs 1/3 tunnel between the two major road tunnels as an escape around so the other option might of course be that if you musk has a bunch these tunnel boring machines may be the answer is when allowing too much pedestrian access because you need to get to the escape tunnel and I just bought two or three or four tunnels next to each other so maybe that maybe that's the intention I don't know but I do know is that I think it's sort of conflating arm when he selects that idea you don't have to you have all these extra room for escape via emergency vehicle access also stuff might well I'm not sure that making the tunnel smaller is really the right solution because you can end up building more tunnels in parallel at the same time so I'm not sure it's in there and win that may be more efficient it is built one large while maybe that's the point so I don't know I'm not sold on anyway it's earnings should be quicker to go with multiple tiles in parallel arm but in a sense that's is that the right answer is that cheating, shall anyway arm bottom line I with the size this tunnels there is no way can fit to vehicles in the same tunnel side-by-side that is too small arm ties one vehicle which means there is no bidirectional tunnels there is no overtaking no bypass life your sleds arm if you go so when you get on has like how to get on how to get off it has to almost has to be point-to-point so you is not yet have a network that you can switch between it's like you gotta pick this tunnel to go from point A to point B in you just can't go offering Ross in between things get complicated if you want to do that anyway other problems of the side rails for safety for the doors and you don't be by vendors when they're moving how do you enforce that arm anyway arm but they also if you did have restraints I done around the vehicle to keep the vehicle in place they have to be retractable so that people can open the doors they do need to escape if there is an issue so now of the NASA climate the window as yet that the problem arm to talk about banning combustion engines arm the sleds would need to be maintained inflexible for the different lengths of different vehicles the vehicles at me I like a hump, might be quite longer maybe they won't get maybe stretch limos out probably that the big problem in assuring sandals anyway then as the loading mechanism nastier thing I thought was really bizarre they had this demo site was a render in a treaty rendered vet video, thing I computed CGI and it showed a car driving onto a platform that looked like it was a car park on the side of the road so literally a car as any driver listing and it would sink majestically into the ground disappear from view and unlike that's really dangerous are only audiences but we think that's a cool and all I'm thinking is the engineer in me that is so dangerous because I thought I was expecting I was expecting a graveyard describe something cuddling a ferry loading ramp that will actually make more sense and be safer because if it's a hole in the ground was unstoppable from falling in when the elevator is going down here what happens when some idiot drives onto a cart it's too big and the elevator goes down and the cars beached will have the car to follow father for the back and gets stuck car elevators aren't popular for a very good reason because they tend to get stuck in the simplicity to having a whole folio forgets to put a scoreable work exactly that I like the simplicity of a hole in the ground in a road that slopes slowly down into that whole you can fence the siding fence the top is no moving parts and is nothing that can break and it's like you if the car gets stuck in a small tunnel how do you get the car out like imagine the sleds halfway along the tunnel had the car and ignored the people out through and through a parallel tunnel behaviour get the car out some talk about clean-air anything with tunnels this tunnels tunnels don't have clean-air in them you get yet free clean-air will release the moment you do is not taxed and waiting for that at some point in the future but anyhow arm like in Julia arm seriously like you walk around Street driving Street you have got a problem with ventilation right you're out in the open air is not a problem soon as you dig a tunnel there is a risk of engulfment the end of the risk of collapse is increase the risk of fire then you got the issue of of clean-air business confined space anyway digging a network of underground tunnels from a greenfield point of view like is in the is no tunnels there yet there's not know that yet walk in the park no problem but once you've done and is locked in place and built it's really hard to modify seekers you can widen roads that you can't easily widen tunnels because the men think about your takeaway tunnel reinforcing what you do like Putnam point the told the bigger tunnel boring machine in the same hole like you not you can't cross the tunnel about destroying a title you can't get too close to the sides of an existing tunnel or it might collapse your Saudi unit don't know you you really think that throughout the year you do and of course they won't because town planners it still town planners and it's hard to get it right because you can't tell the future you don't know which guy do in 50 100 years you can guess but you won't always get it right in fact primitive guarantee you'll never get all right anyway the only advantage I can think of is the will is the one that he action that he did site and now which is basically you can build in three dimensions without any trouble we don't want our pylons and anything else not restricted to dimensions like you are the right on the surface but that's pretty much it and the more I think about tunnelling for hyperlink makes more sense to me then a sled with a car that has a Ms Brazilian things can go wrong with it like more wrong with it than hyperlink so I don't know I do think arm to be honest I do things I see is a great idea to develop tunnelling technology is faster and more efficient absolutely yes but I'm not sure at the expense of tunnel size and rescue rescue ability and that's a word anyway arm being our rescue people that on a compromise you should be making you know and having worked in tunnels like a said with and also bypass I'm in Wetherby and built they are hot then noisier humid dangerous you know it's it's you it's not a pleasant working environment building these things believe me and arm and I and their cost at the moment I guess drives down their commonalities because they're so expensive they don't make many of them it's very much a specialist occupation is when I was working on the arm on the claim seven are under construction is that our people from Germany are people from mum the Netherlands are people from our Sweden and Noel tunnel is that they don't hold their entire career and as one guy said I was the baby tunnel locker trying to was accent but yes it is this time is a baby, I'll hang on I settles and was acting anyway so he told me was a baby tunnel because his record tunnel was like 20 km long and this one was 4.6 km a baby tunnel is always against and a sleep always about the size of some people anyway or the point is exist on 11 May sleep or the funny thing is I was speaking to arm another guy who was arm he was young and I use mine like late 20s and we are all getting in the arm the go-karts because they had you like go there there were electric go-karts and then there was the Yum arm the work Google gas powered ones and died because you did my drive you utility vehicles pickup trucks down there as often as you want because of the width constraint is when the tolls done you've got the conveyor along a site that convey taxable loss based on the right-hand side to the left-hand side was the conveyor the right hand side you have a whole bunch of electrical wiring and patching in an and stuff so the actual culvert once went down you could drive one of course but you if you drive you down there it was quite wide as a vehicle and there wasn't very much room if you had to get a car out the other direction more tunnels and construction was really narrow and quite dangerous and difficult so they had done a lot of those stop stop arm yellow stop that will make stop and traffic lights arm of the elector the portable ones on the side of the rotor roadworks had like three or four of these arm checkpoints in the tunnel as it is to narrow arms a lot of people preferred the younger little worker mule, things and double golf carts anyway and on this golf can't go down into the tunnel down to the records the year to the TBM just past the low point and down he he was started walking in a sort of settlement don't you take one of these it's like it's a 3 km walk and he said arm in all the years in billing tunnels prefer to walk because when you walk you can see the problems when you're in the vehicle you don't see problems as well so is and quick as I because you go back to work yet exactly are you going faster speed limits 10 km an hour source at 7 miles an hour yet it still you really you can start to look around when you're yet exactly analysis point so every single day he walked the tunnel twice and I said when it gets closer to being done that's a long walk Noel so anyway arm to billing tunnels I think the more they make arm the numbers are gonna push up the exposure to the risk because details dangerous and you can dig through pretty much anything but you can't dig through everything and expect a clean result in I mean like digging through a layer of soft Pete and mud and slush is a very different proposition to drilling through try to drill through bedrock or try to draw through a layer of chalk arm you rather famously I think the Yum and the channel so that the channel tunnel between the United Kingdom and France arm they actually very specifically drilled through the chalk layer and the chalk layer when all over the place when up-and-down up-and-down yellow deserts like geological fault lines or something electrical engineer not geologist but anyway the lining bits of the chalk under the ground then bits that highlight them bits and they did that because it was so much faster to good to drill and tunnel through chalk that was to try and go through anything harder you like going granite or bass soul to God knows what else right so you can't just C8 easy to say Aiken drilled in three dimensions well yeah you can and no you can't there and there are there are many many cases where these TBM's get stuck and they got back up and and do micro blasting arounds arm the hard boulders in order to break them up so the TBM can get through is not is not all plain sailing so I do think that the more that they drill if they do pull this off my dear, the high-speed small diameter TBM think the problems go then become a lot about how accurately you can point them how well you can plan them and during construction how much more exposure if you got hundreds of these going off once how many more injuries and fatalities are gonna be arm telling through stuff that they shouldn't because once you can go faster people deploy faster and in there's a higher exposure to that safety risk some on I guess it is not solar I only I'm I'm interested to see what they actually build arm but it's a fascinating idea anything it's an interesting idea I also question I have it would actually be like to use their sled and trust their vehicle on a sled in a in a invalid confined space is no what you reckon are as I think that there will be people that are sceptical of it now I think there will be a lot of people that I enjoy the yeah and I think them bits and as the novelty and is the practicality and I and me flying cars is a stupid idea arm because of all the extra energy that it takes to keep something off of the ground arm there and in addition gravity socks or more accurately attracts but anyway down and and is a problem right so if you're on ground level you can't fall if you're in the air and above the ground you can fail that's not entirely accurate but you can/ha you but you know I got less and less over passes duties like that Dallas five wasting nights that's high but anyway arm generally speaking you on the ground calf offer but now we are with tunnels you can't fall for the same rationale but you can work in three dimensions but the other problem is the opposite which is how do you get up to the surface in an emergency if you're on the surface you're already there no problem so I know I IGES I guess and is not solar I think it's a fascinating idea as in its kinda crazy the fact that Alan must just has this random thought how about traffic one day and then start a company to solve the drilling problem and then he does and now they want TBM and they're playing with do as she do when you when you're rich I guess but a name I discover from from a from a pragmatic point of view I think the tunnels are the answer I don't think that the best answer either I think that tunnels are have got a lot of compromises and and I love the name of company the boring company so funny arm it's not boring at all it's actually fascinating but whether or not it actually helps a hell of a lot or whether or not it's just a very small sliver of a piece of the puzzle well I guess we'll see Ronnie well if you like to more mountains you can reach me on mastodon if you like to get in touch with the best way to limit entitlement elective amount would advocate for alternate life big thank you to everyone listening and as always thank you Bradley anytime starting�
Duration 54 minutes and 27 seconds Direct Download

Show Notes

Miscellaneous Links:

*Premium subscriptions are ad-free, released early and have back-catalogues of previous episodes


Vic Hudson

Vic Hudson

Vic is the host of the App Story Podcast and is the developer behind Money Pilot for iOS.

John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, programmer, podcaster and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John has produced and appeared on many podcasts as well as Pragmatic.

What Happened to Mastodon? You can reach me on the Fediverse as explained here, just search for me on your instance of Mastodon, Misskey or Pleroma and you’ll be able to follow/remote follow me wherever you are!