Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 17 décembre 2016
Less than 2 years after making this statement that most perceived as a joke, a first test section is due to open on December 10th in the LA area.
The Verge reports:
“The two-mile test tunnel underneath SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, is a proof of concept for an underground public transportation system, which aims to transport passengers and vehicles beneath congested roadways on autonomously driven electric platforms called “skates.” The skates will theoretically transport eight to 16 passengers, or one passenger vehicle, along magnetic rails at speeds of up to 155 mph (250 km/h), Musk tweeted.”
The Boring Company has recently been selected to build a rapid transit link between downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport. The company plans to transport passengers between O’Hare and Chicago in under 12 minutes (one way), compared to a 40 minute trip via the city’s current system. The 18 miles of tunneling are advertised to be built for under $1 billion, a fraction of the per-mile cost of the recent extensions of the subway in New York and of the Line 14 Metro in Paris.
To make his vision a reality, Elon Musk plans to decrease the current cost of tunneling by 10. Many are skeptical of the achievability of this goal but the plan to do so is clearly laid out on the Boring Company’s website:
- Increase Power of Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) by 3
- Continuously Tunnel instead of stopping 50% of the time to reinforce
- Automate the TBM to reduce human interference
- Go electric as opposed to Diesel
- Tunneling R&D in a field that has had virtually no investment for 50 years
Even if the Boring Company manages to reach its goal in cost reduction, experts point that the complexities of tunneling are deep and multifaceted: they include lengthy environmental analysis, risk of colliding with existing underground structures, or the need to get permission from landowners above the tunnel.
To this day, the Boring Company has raised $113M from non disclosed sources.
Categories: Transportation, EV
Headquarters Regions: Greater Los Angeles
Founded Date: 2016
Founders: Elon Musk
Last Funding Type: Series Unknown