Elon Musk gave us a first glimpse of what it looks like inside a tunnel dug by The Boring Company by parking a Tesla Model S down there. The photo of the Model S inside the tunnel was shared by Musk to Instagram with the caption, “A Model S in The Boring Company tunnel being dug under Los Angeles (starting in Hawthorne).”
Last month we were treated to pictures of a Model S being lowered into the two-mile “test tunnel” via a car elevator.
Far from a 'Boring' Vision
Musk has a vision for The Boring Company to be part of a revolutionary transport system. Cars would be transported through underground tunnels on ‘electric skates’ at speeds of up to 200kmh. The overarching idea is to connect cities in a safe and direct manner. The Boring Company and its technology will also be able to support a Hyperloop system. The Hyperloop once developed has the potential to carry both human and cargo loads at top speeds of 620 miles/hour. It works by utilizing a linear electric motor to accelerate an electromagnetically levitated pod through a low-pressure tube. The photo of the Mode Inside the tunnel shared the limelight with the news that WARR won SpaceX’s second Hyperloop competition after their pod reached a top speed of 202 mph (324 km/h). The Hawthorne City Council in California recently gave approval to Musk and The Boring Company to dig a 2-mile test tunnel under its airport adjacent to Space X.
The project's approval documents noted: "The test tunnel project would involve SpaceX engineers repeatedly testing personal vehicle types suitable for placement on the skates; refinement of the design and technology; and general data collection on performance, durability, and application."
The Boring Company will use a repurposed tunnel-boring machine to complete the work. The machine was once used for digging sewage lines in San Francisco. Senior director of facilities and construction at Space X, Brett Horton, says the 2 miles tunnel will be undetectable from the surface. The tunnel will be dug, 44-feet below ground, well underneath existing facilities. He said, "You don’t see it, don’t hear it, and certainly don’t feel it. Everything happens underground, we won’t have construction crews walking down the street. We won’t have excavators."
Many consider the idea a product of an overactive imagination and that such technology exists only in sci-fi novels. However, Musk has some powerful players on his side including L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. The tunnels would alleviate Los Angeles critical urban congestion and smog problems. Musk has laid out plans for the tunnel saying “Will start NY-DC in parallel. Then prob LA-SF and a TX loop.” Musk tweeted early in the year that he had verbal approval to start the New York to D.C tunnel, though he admitted later, there was still a lot of work to do before formal approval was given. Once in place, it would be possible to travel between the two cities in as little as 29 minutes.