The Boring Company, Elon Musk’s tunnel-boring enterprise he started as a solution to “soul-sucking” Los Angeles freeway traffic, has completed its proof-of-concept tunnel, according to video shared by Musk on Friday night.
The two-mile “test tunnel” begins at the “SpaceX property (parking lot east of Crenshaw Boulevard and south of 120th Street), turns west under 120th Street, and remains under 120th Street,” according to a description on the website for the Boring Company.
The tunnel is scheduled to be completed by December 10, so Friday night’s video seems to indicate the project will be finished some three weeks ahead of schedule, assuming they can sweep everything up in time.
The first video shared by Musk shows, Godot, the name of the boring machine used by the company, emerging from a tunnel, its massive drill bit slowing turning clockwise as rubble appears before it:
The second video is up-close and personal with the tunnel muck — which will be pressed into bricks and sold — as a Boring Company engineer uses a shovel to push dirt off the machine.
There’s a lot riding on this test tunnel. Musk’s vision for the Boring Company involves elevators for passenger pods — public transportation will be given priority — which will lower directly into a tunnel. The Boring Company calls the elevators “Loop Lifts” and is building a prototype in a garage in a residential house in Hawthorne, California.
The purpose is to demonstrate that a lift can be built in very small footprints and within existing buildings, whether they are houses, office buildings, or retail parking lots. Looking forward, one could have a lift in the basement of every office building, allowing extremely convenient commutes.The purpose is to demonstrate that a lift can be built in very small footprints and within existing buildings, whether they are houses, office buildings, or retail parking lots. Looking forward, one could have a lift in the basement of every office building, allowing extremely convenient commutes.
Below is a video of a prototype of the Loop Lift shared by Musk in July 2017. Inverse has paired it with an animation Musk shared in April 2016.
In May, Musk shared the below video that shows a fast-forward ride through the test tunnel:
Musk’s big tunnel idea first seemed to go public in January 2016 during a Q&A session at Texas A&M University. “Tunnels are great. It’s just a hole in the ground,” he said then. He was quiet about the Boring Company for most of 2016, until he brought the idea up again toward the end of that year, with this quote: “It shall be called ‘The Boring Company.’ Boring, it’s what we do.”
Below is that moment in 2015 when Musk began to “strongly recommend tunnels.”
So, how does the Boring Company make money? It’s done so in a few creative ways. First, there was the sale of Boring Company hats, which were objectively boring, and then there was the sale of Boring Company flamethrowers (see below) and the accompanying fire extinguishers. And of course, the aforementioned bricks.
Musk and the Boring Company will have to face public scrutiny over their tunnel plans, and in May held a public, but friendly Q&A session in Los Angeles with members of the community there. It was then that Musk said rides through a Boring Company tunnel should cost about $1.
The city of Chicago should view Musk’s Friday night videos with perhaps the most interest, though. In June, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the city picked the Boring Company to build and operate an express service transport system between O’Hare International Airport and Block 37, an urban mall in the Loop area of the city’s downtown that’s also home to one of its busiest transit hubs on the “L,” the city’s rapid transit system.
The Boring Company has also released a conceptual map of its route between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.
So what’s Musk’s full vision of the Boring Company’s tunnel system look like? The below video which was released at the 2017 TED conference in Vancouver, offers a glimpse:
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