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Elon Musk presents the Boring Company's Car-Flinging Tunnel

In a quiet, manufacturing dominated suburb of Los Angeles, Elon Musk and his Boring Company, featured in a parking garage this night he considers the future of "mass transit" and the best way to eliminate hostage of traffic: electrical , autonomous vehicles carrying an additional set of wheels, shoot through layers of thin tunnels at speeds up to 150 mph. If that sounds a little amazing-good duh. Muskos presentation, with a glimpsed entrance aboard a Tesla Model X, which traveled through the company's 1,14 mile test tunnel, filled out some details of his ambitious plans to destroy LA overload with new and improved tunnel drilling processes. 1 But the test tunnel still seems to be a test tunnel and drilling company in a deep experimental phase. A number of questions remain. "I think this is like a real panacea," said Musk standing in front of the tunnel, extending from a SpaceX parking lot to the town of Hawthorne. A panacea for a terrible sick. Traffic, he said, "is like acid on the soul." A few major parts of the Boring Company's "transit" concept, which it calls "Loop", has changed since Musk last featured it in May. Gone are "electric skates", the platforms that would drive vehicles through an extensive tunnel network whose tendrils BoCo would like to spread one day throughout the LA subway / world. Instead, users now have to mount specialized wheels on their own electric automobiles, which will steer vehicles along the tracks in the tunnels. These…

In a quiet, manufacturing dominated suburb of Los Angeles, Elon Musk and his Boring Company, featured in a parking garage this night he considers the future of “mass transit” and the best way to eliminate hostage of traffic: electrical , autonomous vehicles carrying an additional set of wheels, shoot through layers of thin tunnels at speeds up to 150 mph.

If that sounds a little amazing-good duh. Muskos presentation, with a glimpsed entrance aboard a Tesla Model X, which traveled through the company’s 1,14 mile test tunnel, filled out some details of his ambitious plans to destroy LA overload with new and improved tunnel drilling processes. 1

But the test tunnel still seems to be a test tunnel and drilling company in a deep experimental phase. A number of questions remain.

“I think this is like a real panacea,” said Musk standing in front of the tunnel, extending from a SpaceX parking lot to the town of Hawthorne. A panacea for a terrible sick. Traffic, he said, “is like acid on the soul.”

A few major parts of the Boring Company’s “transit” concept, which it calls “Loop”, has changed since Musk last featured it in May. Gone are “electric skates”, the platforms that would drive vehicles through an extensive tunnel network whose tendrils BoCo would like to spread one day throughout the LA subway / world. Instead, users now have to mount specialized wheels on their own electric automobiles, which will steer vehicles along the tracks in the tunnels. These look a bit like a bicycle wheel but sit parallel to the ground:

Boring Company’s 16-passenger concept, the center of what Musk once said was a system that would put pedestrians and cyclists first. This is a system that is supposed to carry people’s cars, as long as they are completely electric and can drive themselves. For those without such vehicles, Musk said, cars would continuously circulate the Loop system to pick up and drop anyone who wants to go. Press material provided by Boring Company says that each tunnel should support 4000 cars per hour – about 16,000 passengers, provided each car is almost full. It is the capacity of approximately 11.5 full (but not packed) subway stations in New York.

Boring

“We do not say there should be no other means for public transport,” Musk said on Tuesday night. “Let’s do everything we can in every direction to ease traffic.”

The technology is also far from finished. The car that traveled through the test tunnel, which the company used to give demo rides to fans and reporters, just beat speeds of around 50 mph, not 150 mph. (Musk said it was possible to travel 110 mph.) And Musk admitted to LA Times that the trip was uneven, and that Boring Company “released time”.

“The bumpiness will not be there on the way,” he told the Times . “It’s as smooth as glass. This is just a prototype. That’s why it’s just a bit rough around the edges.”

The Hawthorne City Council made it possible for the company’s project to quickly track through the environmental impact process because it’s a demonstration, not a functional form of mass transit, and because the city stopped its construction would not interfere with the neighbors. Musk says the company digs so deep underground that its subway is not noticeable from above and with correct notes, tunnels are safe in earthquake spots like LA. BoCo spent just under two years and $ 10 million built this test tunnel.

Musk tweeted Boring Company in December 2016 when he cracked a joke about being so frustrated by LA traffic that he would buy a tunnel drill and “just start digging”. At the beginning of 2017, there was a great deal of goodness in the SpaceX parking lot, the beginning of the test track that the company presented today. Musk has argued that cities like LA can just throw away traffic by going “3D down or 3D up” and that flying cars (that would be up) are too dangerous.

Thus, his vision shows: Metro tunnels transporting hundreds of thousands of vehicles traveling at high speeds, transported to the night world of thousands of lifts woven throughout the sprawling city. (Musk resembled the system to “wormhole.”) Drilling has said that it will charge riders $ 1 each, will fund this vision itself and will not accept government funds.

Transport engineers and town planners have criticized the plan they argue for. does not address the underlying causes of traffic, such as bottlenecks at highway and off ramps (or the elevator’s inputs and outputs where cars enter the system) and urban propagation. The plan faces another enemy: the public environmental impact process, which can sometimes take over a decade for an infrastructure project of this ambition.

Musk has confirmed that he must lower the cost of tunnels digging and accelerate the process dramatically. Eventually, Musk has said that he would like his modified boring machine to hit his snail, Gary, in a contest, which increases the normal boring rate by a factor of 14. (Professional tunnel technicians have public doubts as to whether Musics innovations are possible. The original Gary is also tall dead. BoCo now cares for Gary VI.) He has also said that his tunnels have reduced width at about 12 feet at its widest, which also lowers costs.

Musk also announced last summer that the earth that originated from his tunneling work would be restored to bricks, which will be sold by another muskian spinoff, The Brick Store LLC. The bricks have already been used to build a Monty Python and The Holy Grail type tower because of SpaceX’s headquarters. BoCo has also promised to release LEGO sets of lifestyles.

Boring Company has also appeared throughout the country. There is this test tunnel in Hawthorne and the company’s plan to build a small system that runs between one of three subway stations in the LA Metro to Dodger Stadium. (Musk told reporters Tuesday that he would like to expand the entire LA system before 2028, when the city will host the OS.)

Boring has also promised a DC to Baltimore connection but has not received any permission as needed to make the project really go. In addition, there is a high-speed connection between downtown Chicago and the O & Hare International Airport, which Musk has promised to build up to $ 1 billion, a venture for a major infrastructure project. Drilling is apparently in the middle of an environmental impact process there. (The project that had been subject to mayor Rahm Emanuel, can face political challenges now when Emanuel leaves his office.)

A project no longer available at Boring Company: another test tunnel in West Los Angeles. BoCo pulled out of the project after settling a trial with two local neighborhood groups, claiming that the company tried to circumvent city rules by getting a subway-large project accelerated.

So yes there has been a long and confusing path to this point. Musk has suggested a series of ideas that are related to his tunnel. Many have been dubious, but most have been exciting, if nothing but their misery. But this may be a mutual road to the future. It’s really Muskets way, a man who has never been a lot for the traditional, stodgy way of doing things where you mull over a plan, announces it in a carefully formulated press release, then spend the next few years doing what you said would. Some CEO wears and sits in the back of the limo. Others come out of tunnels in a messy flannel. You decide which group does better showmen and that changes how things really work.

1 Correction attached, 12/19/18, 1:40 ET: An earlier version of this story is missing the length of the test tunnel. It is 1.14 miles long, not 1.4 miles.


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