Billionaire Elon Musk has already completed the first segment of an underground tunnel network and just installed the most futuristic component of the system: a car skate.
Musk plans on building as many as 30 layers of tunnels beneath Los Angeles through his newest venture, the Boring Company.
The serial entrepreneur said Wednesday that the company, which is being led by SpaceX engineer Steve Davis, already completed the first segment of the tunnel. Here’s a first look at the tunnel, which runs under Crenshaw Boulevard between the SpaceX parking lot and the campus building:
Musk has said a car skate will transport vehicles through the future tunnels at speeds reaching 130 mph during a TED Talk in April. The car skate will be fully operational next week, Musk said.
Here’s how the system works: A car would pull into the metal car pod that would then transport the vehicle under ground:
An electric skate would then rocket the car through the tunnel:
The skate could also transport pedestrians by carrying them on a minibus:
The Boring Company was able to complete the first segment of the tunnel so quickly because it doesn’t need permits to dig on SpaceX’s property.
In fact, Musk has been working with Hawthorne city officials for over a year about building the tunnel, which was originally conceived as a way to get SpaceX employees across from the parking lot to the building safely.
The Tesla and SpaceX engineer has acknowledged that getting approval to extend the tunnel network beyond the SpaceX property line is more challenge.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, however, has said he is interested in using the tunnel to support a rail connection between Los Angeles International Airport and Union Station, a main transit hub that connects Los Angeles to distant suburbs.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is also in talks with Musk to use the tunnel for a high-speed rail line that connects downtown and O’Hare International Airport, Wired reported.