In Switzerland, an underground city the size of the Moscow metro will be built for robots

In principle, this idea was already in the air.

In principle, this idea was already in the air.

A photo: Shutterstock

This project looks like science fiction, however, already in August 2022, Switzerland will begin construction of a system of underground tunnels, where it will hide the flow of freight traffic.

Elon Musk left behind

In principle, this idea was already in the air. Because salvation from traffic jams can only be sought in two directions: underground or in the air. But the creation of air vehicles has not yet advanced beyond the experimental stage, but the construction of underground highways is a very popular idea today. For example, in 2016, Elon Musk founded The Boring Company, intending to build a similar network of tunnels near Los Angeles. But since Musk, by his own admission, spends only 2-3 percent of his time on The Boring Company (in parallel, he produces unmanned electric vehicles, builds spaceships and prepares to fly to Mars), the project is not developing as rapidly as his other brainchildren. The Swiss first started discussing their underground project in the same year 2016, but have succeeded much more.

Unlike Musk, who was going to make life easier for passengers and motorists, the descendants of William Tell will use underground tunnels exclusively for freight. This is an easier task than carrying passengers.

At the first stage, a 67-kilometer section will be built that will connect Zurich (and this is the largest city in Switzerland) with the industrial area of ​​Harkingen, where there are many warehouse terminals and shopping centers. The branch will run at a depth of 20 to 100 meters and is scheduled to open in 2031. The cost of the work is estimated at 3.7 billion dollars. If the experiment is considered successful, another 500 kilometers of tunnels will be dug under the Alps. For comparison: the length of the Moscow metro lines is 438.6 km. In other words, this is truly a cosmic scale project!

The driver is an extra element of the transport system

What about truck exhausts, you ask? What will drivers breathe underground? And the trick is that there will be no trucks or drivers. Countrymen of Roger Federer intend to build a completely autonomous transport system, where the presence of a person is completely unnecessary. All work – unloading, loading and transportation – robots will do on their own, around the clock without interruption. The diameter of the tunnel is 6 meters, the loads will move in two planes. Down on the rails at a constant speed of 30 kilometers per hour, electric cargo capsules will rustle along three lanes, they will transport goods in containers or pallets. A suspension system will be mounted under the arch of the tunnel, with its help they will organize the fast delivery of small loads – they will fly at a speed of 60 kilometers per hour. To lift containers to the surface, a system of elevators is provided along the route.

Experts have calculated that the introduction of an underground transportation system will reduce the country’s need for heavy vehicles by 40 percent. For Switzerland, this is vital, since the volume of freight traffic in 2040 will increase by 37%, and the possibilities for expanding land infrastructure in the country of mountains are almost exhausted. After the “cargo subway” is put into operation, trucks will not appear at all in the cities connected to it. This will reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent and reduce noise levels by 30%, for the inhabitants of the Alpine Republic obsessed with ecology, this is almost a key indicator. Greta Thunberg will definitely start dancing as soon as she finds out about this.

The Russian mind cannot understand Switzerland

And yet this project looks outlandish from the point of view of our man. We build ordinary roads in such a way that literary classics come up with offensive and still relevant aphorisms about them. And here the road of the future, the size of the Moscow metro, is being dug under the ground and with an impudent look they say: we are not burying money, but we are going to make money!

The Russian mind cannot understand Switzerland. The country’s parliament ensures that not a single franc of public money is spent on a project of national importance. Hansjörg Knecht of the conservative right-wing Swiss People’s Party stated:

– You can not use any budgetary funds, even indirectly. It is necessary to exclude the scenario in which the state, in the event of a failure of the project, was ultimately forced to pay for it.

The digging of the tunnels will be paid for by a consortium of Swiss and foreign companies who believe that the $30-35 billion project (that’s the price of the entire 500-kilometer tunnel network) should pay off. Engineers have designed the project in such a way that the energy for the operation of the underground system will come from 100% renewable sources. Including electricity generated by solar panels installed on the roofs of loading stations. Cars don’t need to be paid either. Is there really a bright future about which Seryozha Syroezhkin from “The Adventures of Electronics” sang about: robots are working hard and a person is happy?


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