- Elon Musk’s Boring Company won a bid that could bring autonomous, high-speed public transit to Chicago.
- The Boring Company and the city of Chicago will begin negotiations to develop the company’s Loop transit system, which could transport passengers between downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport in an estimated 12 minutes. It will be called The Chicago Express Loop.
- Musk’s company was selected out of four other bidders. If the Boring Company and Chicago reach a final deal, the project would be privately funded, but many other questions remain, because Loop has not been tested at scale.
- It is unknown when the project will go online.
The Boring Company, the tunnelling venture led by Elon Musk that seeks to build underground pathways that would house high-speed autonomous transit, landed a big win in Chicago on Wednesday night.
The company and city officials will enter negotiations to bring the Loop transit system to Chicago. Loop aims to shuttle passengers between downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport in 12 minutes, at speeds of more than 100 mph, with an estimated trip cost of $US20 to $US25 per ride, the Chicago Tribune reported.
A taxi ride from downtown Chicago to O’Hare today costs about $US40, and can take more than hour in morning traffic.
The Boring Company was among four bidders vying for the project, which would be privately funded if the company and the city reach a final deal. Boring gets exclusive rights to negotiate with the city for the next 12 months.
Musk’s vision for Loop could revolutionise public transit:
- The vehicles, which the company calls “electric skates,” operate on platforms adapted from the Tesla Model X.
- The skates would travel through underground tunnels, and could carry as many as 16 passengers at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour.
- According to the Boring Company, the skates would have Wi-Fi and be large enough to hold passengers and cargo.
Loop is untested at scale, and Musk’s Boring Company is still new to the business of high-speed public transit. It is unknown when the project will go online, but the concept has made some headway in major US cities. It received permits to start digging in Washington, DC, and in Los Angeles.
Musk held a town hall-style meeting in the affluent LA suburb of Bel-Air last month to ease fears among residents sceptical of the tech billionaire’s plan to dig tunnels under their neighbourhoods.