Yesterday’s test involved travel at about 40mph but Musk said that the cars are capable of traveling safely at over 150mph. “At that speed, it will feel like teleporting within a city,” he tweeted.
The test tunnel in Hawthorne, California, is being used for the research and development of company's tunnelling and public transportation systems.
The section unveiled yesterday was about a mile long and the completed test route will run for two miles from a car park belonging to Musk’s SpaceX company. Passengers were carried at speeds of about 40mph in the Tesla car (made by yet another Musk company) fitted with retractable wheel gear that allows it to turn into a rail-guided train and back again.
Entry is via a lift in a garage in a house in Hawthorne. This, the company said, is to demonstrate that a lift can be built in very small footprints and within existing buildings, whether they are houses, office buildings or retail parking lots. “Looking forward, one could have a lift in the basement of every office building, allowing extremely convenient commutes.”
“The demo ride takes you in *same* car on road, down elevator, zips through tunnel using guide wheels, up elevator at destination & then drives on normal roads back to start,” tweeted Musk.
The technology could be applied to any autonomous, electric vehicle, not just ones by Tesla, he said.