Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Switzerland considers $3.4 billion automated cargo tunnels

William Payne
February 4, 2016
Switzerland is considering building a $3.4 billion cargo tunnel for automated delivery trucks. The project, which would link several several major cities across Switzerland, is considered technically possible, but would require large investment.

The ‘Cargo Sous Terrain’ (underground cargo) plan could allow reduction of the amount of traffic travelling by road.

A feasibility study presented in Zurich revealed that just the first step in the large-scale plans would cost CHF3.5 billion ($3.4 billion) for a 66.7km-long stretch of the tunnel. A team has been working on the concept for two years, with federal support.

The Cargo Sous Terrain team say the first part of the underground transport network could connect logistics centres in the Solothurn and Bern cantons to the city of Zurich from 2030. Other logistics hubs could be added, though the eventual goal would be to connect the Lake Geneva region to Lake Constance, with connections to Basel, Lucerne and Thun along the way.

The tunnel’s promoters have called it a “pragmatic and technically-simple solution”, saying that at a depth of 50m and width of 6m, the tunnels would be environmentally friendly and efficient.

The unmanned, automated vehicles would be propelled and steered by electromagnetic induction and run at 30km/hour. They could run 24-hours a day, and there would even be a separate section for packages.

As the project will be privately financed, it is currently seeking investors. It already has the support of politicians in the cantons concerned, but first a legal proposal will have to be submitted to parliament.