Elon Musk is leveraging Tesla’s best talents to get The Boring Company on the move. On Thursday, the CEO confirmed that the electric car company will build the pods that will shuttle 16 passengers at a time from Chicago’s international airport to its city center in just 12 minutes, around half the time it takes to complete the same journey by car.
During a joint press conference with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Musk said the tunnel will be “significantly less difficult than what we do at SpaceX or Tesla,” noting that “we will be using some technologies and engineering talent from SpaceX and Tesla to make the system work as well as we possibly could.” Musk confirmed that this collaboration will mean that “the high-speed pods that will be in the tunnel will be made by Tesla, so I think that’s something where we’ve got the most advanced electric vehicle and autonomy technology in the world, and then we can apply that to operating in the tunnel, and that gives us a significant advantage.”
Musk has leveraged the talents of the two companies before, using Tesla’s electric cars for a demonstration of The Boring Company’s concept skate. These sleds, demonstrated at the California test tunnel in December, drop cars down through parking bay-sized holes in the ground and whisks them across at speeds of 125 miles per hour. The Boring Company released a new sled video on the same day as the Chicago tunnel announcement:
The Chicago tunnel will whisk passengers across the 16 miles in a mass transit configuration of the skate, moving passengers from O’Hare International Airport at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour to Block 37. The block was constructed over a decade ago, at costs of around $400 million, for a fast connection to the airport. If all goes to plan, the route could be the first to use Musk’s mass transit skate in a public setting.
The Boring Company plans to start digging in three to four months, assuming they get regulatory and environmental approval. The company aims to open the tunnel within 18 to 24 months, but while it could take longer, Musk said that it was unlikely to stretch past three years.
It could be the start of even bigger things. On The Boring Company’s FAQ, the company states that it plans to use similar pod configurations of mass transit and passenger vehicles for hyperloop.