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Pipedream Underground Delivery At Peachtree Corners

Automated underground delivery of packages is the latest thing in Britain - but also a very old idea from Britain.

Developed in cooperation with tech firm Pipedream, the new delivery system spans almost one mile and connects a busy shopping centre to the heart of the city’s Curiosity Lab – a 25,000-square-foot smart innovation centre...

The tunnel is built 1.8-2.1 metres underground depending on the elevation, with the robot capable of travelling at speeds of up to 72 kilometres per hour.

The entire trip takes approximately five minutes, according to Branham – who also serves as the innovation centre’s Executive Director.

“This would be faster than a car, as there are no stop lights or other vehicles on the roadway causing delays,” he added.

(Via Cities-Today.)

Science fiction author Miles J. Breuer described a vast underground package delivery system, in this case for finished laundry, in his 1932 classic Mechanocracy

They ran across the room. Each seized one of the baskets, dumped the linen on the floor, set the basket back on the roller conveyor, and got into it.

The darkness of the pit closed upon them. Machinery clattered and steam hissed. They bent low, not knowing what was above them. They felt themselves sink rapidly and again tipped level ; there were gears grinding as they rounded corners. There seemed no end of sinking down and down in the blackness.

Finally, after a clatter of paper there came a hurst of light. They saw clothes dumped out of baskets, wrapped in paper, and shot into tubes, all by machinery. They leaped out on the floor. Again there were no people. No bawling speakers. No gongs. Only the open mouths of pneumatic tubes, an endless row of them, each marked with its destination. Quentin eagerly looked for Brooklyn. It took but a moment to find it.

"All aboard for Long Island !" he shouted in glee.


(Tube Station from 'Mechanocracy' by Miles J. Breuer)

As a wrapped package came down the conveyor toward the Brooklyn tube, he rolled it off and they took its place. The lid popped shut on the tube, nearly rupturing their ear-drums, and they were plunged in darkness. After the first rush and swirl and roar, all was quiet for minutes.

Again there was a roar and a crash and a burst of daylight. The two fugitives jumped up and ran, knocking over several astonished people who were waiting for packages; their destination was an open door with daylight beyond.

(Read more about the Pneumatic Tube Zone from 'Mechanocracy' by Miles J. Breuer

The concept of pneumatic tubes as a means of delivering freight was not created by science fiction authors; it was originally proposed by George Medhurst, a London businessman in the early nineteenth century. Pneumatic tube systems were commonplace in the first part of the twentieth century in large buildings, or interconnected locations like hospitals.

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