- Elon Musk tweeted a walk-through video of the first Boring Company tunnel over the weekend.
- The time-lapse video shows a lengthy tunnel for the company’s autonomous pods, which it says can travel at up to 150 mph.
The Boring Company’s first tunnel under the streets of Los Angeles appears to be taking shape.
CEO Elon Musk heralded the completion on Twitter on Saturday, describing the tunnel as “disturbingly long,” saying it was “on track for opening party Dec 10,” and including a mesmerising time-lapse video of the tunnel’s full length.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 3, 2018
The tunnel “will be very one-dimensional,” the billionaire added – a nod to the three-dimensional theory he laid out in an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher last week, in which Musk explained how tunnels had historically been limited to a single dimension.
If someone could figure out how to bore through rock with less expense, he continued, there could theoretically be no limit to the layers of tunnels crisscrossing below the surface.
The Boring Company’s plan to ease traffic is relatively simple, but transportation experts have criticised it.
According to the company’s website, passengers will enter a “pod” vehicle, which can hold eight to 16 people, that is then lowered into the tunnel.
Even with 16 people per “skate,” the capacity of the system would be a tiny fraction of a traditional subway system. The New York City subway, for example, can carry up to 2,000 passengers in a 10-car train, handling 24 of those trains per hour.
Musk’s No. 1 goal: reduce tunnelling costs.
The company says costs must be reduced at least tenfold for a network of crisscrossing tunnels to be feasible.
It’s not clear what the current costs for The Boring Company’s tunnels might be, but the firm claims to have engineered a cheaper way using smaller diameters and 24/7 boring.
Here’s how a cross-section of the tunnels will look once finished.
The system is designed to transport individual cars – but will prioritise pedestrians and cyclists – at speeds of up to 150 mph, the company’s website says.
The tunnel walls have vertical “curbs” to keep the skates in line as they travel, as well as a walkway for maintenance and emergency exits, according to The Boring Company.
Eventually, it could make up a sprawling network.
Speaking with Recode, Musk said that eventually there could be 100 levels of tunnels below streets.
“We do expect to, over time, create a network of tunnels under greater LA,” he said. “And I think this is really the key to getting around the city very fast. You’ve got to go 3D.”
He added: “You could certainly have a subway system which had many layers of tunnels, but the tunnels are so prohibitively expensive that they don’t do it. But you can go down 100 levels if you want to – you could have 100 layers of tunnels on top of each other.”
Musk continued: “The key is a massive improvement in tunnelling technology. That’s the linchpin. That’s fundamentally what it amounts to.”