Elon Musk Says The Boring Company Will Create City 'Wormholes'
Elon Musk has a vision for how to solve Los Angeles traffic, and it involves whizzing cars through specially-built “wormholes.” The founder of The Boring Company unveiled his tunnel-digging firm’s vision of the future on Tuesday, in a special event by the firm’s first test tunnel next to the SpaceX campus in Hawthorne, California.
Describing how autonomous cars would be able to drop down into the tunnels and travel through at speeds of up to 150 mph, Musk compared the idea to something out of a science fiction novel. “They’re sort of like wormholes,” Musk told the audience. “You drop down the wormhole, you’re driving around and ‘oh, I need to get to the other side of L.A. or New York or whatever,’ drop down the wormhole, pop out the other side, and then you can just drive normally. I think this is really a panacea.”
The company’s tunnels would support autonomous cars, fitted with retractable guide wheels, whizzing through under cities to reach their destination. The narrow size of these tunnels enables faster and cheaper construction. Cars would also be provided to ferry pedestrians and cyclists. When a driver reaches their destination, they can use either a special car elevator or an off-ramp to move onto a more traditional road, a switch Musk described as “backwards compatible.”
Musk, an avid reader of sci-fi, also compared his company’s tunnel-digging machines to the sandworms of Dune. He explained how, where the fastest machine in the world is still 14 times slower than a snail, The Boring Company has boosted its machines through ideas like tripling the power and constructing supports for a more continuous dig. “When I say like yeah we’re gonna have this tunneling machine that can do a mile a week, we’re not talking about the sandworms of Dune here!,” Musk said. “It’s still slow, it’s just faster than a snail.”
Beyond the initial Hawthorne test tunnel, The Boring Company plans a number of projects like a loop to connect the Los Angeles Dodgers stadium to the nearby metro, and a tunnel connecting Chicago Airport to the downtown area. The latter is aiming to move through the city council before mayor Rahm Emanuel’s term finishes in May.
Related video: The Boring Company Demonstrates Its Radical New Tunnel Idea