Say hello to Godot. Elon Musk, who has been working hard on his new tunnel-digging venture The Boring Company, finally revealed his tunnel company’s naming system on Thursday.
“Naming theme for tunnel boring machines will be poems & plays,” Musk said on his Twitter account. “Decided against plays & poems. Too obvious.”
The company, first revealed last year, is aimed at revolutionizing tunnel digging technology, which could hold the key to alleviating city congestion. Musk has previously described a city of the future with underground networks that run up to 30 tunnels deep. These tunnels could support cars, metro rail, and even hyperloop.
The key to success will be improvements to the machines themselves. Boring technology has made little progress in the past 50 years, and moving the dirt is still a time-consuming process. Current machines also make it difficult to construct tunnel walls, and if the company could help reduce the amount of time it takes to dig a tunnel, it could make cost savings.
So why Godot? Samuel Beckett’s 1953 play Waiting for Godot is about two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, waiting for someone called Godot that never arrives.
It could be read as a criticism of traffic problems in big cities, which initially inspired Musk to found the company. Or it could be more a reference to Musk’s frustration at getting his project started in the first place: The Boring Company’s first project is in the SpaceX parking lot, where the company doesn’t need city permits to start digging. Not exactly the traffic-revolutionizing vision Musk outlined.
What about future machines? Travis Corkery responded to Musk’s tweet by suggesting “the road less traveled,” a reference to the Robert Frost poem The Road Not Taken.
“Third one will be from Frost,” Musk said. “Maybe the second.”
In a series of Twitter posts last week, Musk said that he was considering calling the first machine “Ultimate Boring Machine, the Second,” explaining the company would skip the first iteration to give it more credibility.
““I know what you’re thinking … then why not “the Third”?” Musk said. “Well, I’ve learned my lesson about 3’s.”
Musk has had bad experiences with the number three. The Tesla Model 3, set to enter production this July, has led to confusion about whether the car will be more advanced than the existing Model S. The company ultimately released a statement explaining that the $35,000 car is just a cheaper version of the $68,000 Model S and does not contain more advanced technology.
Hopefully Musk has a bit more luck with preconceptions this time around, and the name “Godot” doesn’t lead to skepticism around whether the company will ever work on a big project.