IS: The Swiss Are Drilling Tunnels for Freight

This is brilliant.

And to think they did it all without any input from the man who invented sewer tunnels and electric A/I vehicles. (Sarcasm filter off now.)

IEEE Spectrum headline: Switzerland Moves Ahead With Underground Autonomous Cargo Delivery

Sub-headline: After half a decade of study, Cargo Sous Terrain is ready to start on its first tunnelEVAN ACKERMAN08 JUL 20223 MIN READ

In 2016, we wrote about Cargo Sous Terrain, a (then) US $3.4 billion concept for underground cargo tubes full of automated delivery carts whisking goods between cities and logistics centers across Switzerland at 30 kilometers per hour. The idea behind CST is to provide for long-term freight transport without relying on expansion of road and rail networks, which are already stuffed with both freight and passengers and don’t have much room to grow.

Like so many concepts of this kind, six years ago it seemed like it was highly unlikely to ever happen. However, this past December, the Swiss parliament passed the necessary legal framework to enable underground freight transportation, meaning that the CST project can commence on August 1st.

Freight honestly seems like a much better use of small-scale underground transportation systems than passenger services, which have been the focus of a lot of recent speculation. Freight tunnels can be smaller and can operate at slower speeds than would be demanded by passengers, and since the entire system is autonomous, comfort (and to some extent safety) can be less of a focus.