Elon Musk Says Tunnel is Almost Ready and Promises Free Demo Rides to the Public

Elon Musk has posted a video of a completed section of his Boring Company’s tunnel and has claimed that it will be ready for free demo runs for the public in “a few months”

Elon Musk Says Tunnel is Almost Ready and Promises Free Demo Rides to the Public

“The Boring Company” has done it!

Elon Musk is thrillingly close to fulfilling his promise of taking the notorious Los Angeles traffic to a different level – literally.

While Uber and others have been busy finding ways to take daily commuting to the skies, Elon Musk chose to find answers to LA’s traffic woes underground and, as mentioned, is now on the verge of delivering on that front.

Thursday night, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO announced via a social media post that The Boring Company’s first tunnel in subterranean Los Angeles was almost complete and it would be offering free demo rides to the general public in just a few months, once regulatory formalities were taken care of.

He also pledged priority to building pods dedicated to pedestrians and cyclists which would cost them less than the regular bus fare.

The accompanying video takes you on an up|down ride through a section of the tunnel at high-speed, with the tracks speeding away from you in the first part of the ride and rushing towards you on the return trip.

Replying to a fan query, Musk confirmed that work on a New York City-Washington, D.C. link was already in progress and a similar project was being planned to link LA with San Francisco, hoping to start work sometime next year.

Within hours, the announcement had fetched the billionaire entrepreneur more than a million views.

What Musk actually envisages as the finished product, if you will, is a network of crisscrossing tunnels below La-La Land through which superfast pods, or electrified “skates,” would whisk pedestrians and cyclists, even cars, from one point to another at 125mph.

It all started one day in December of 2016 when Musk got held up in a typical LA snarl and since he didn’t have anything better to do at the time, he took to Twitter to vent his frustration.

“Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging,” he wrote.

And just like that, the idea of going underground to bypass traffic congestions germinated in the man’s mind.

Within the next hour or so, he had even announced the name of the company which would undertake the tunnel boring task and, thus, was founded the “The Boring Company.”

A lot of credit for all that has been achieved, so far, goes to that monstrous tunnel boring machine (TBM) which Musk calls Godot!
Musk with his TBM – Godot

To put things into perspective, a 17-mile one-way trip would take just about eight minutes at a speed of 125 mph, which currently takes no less than an hour to cover on surface in the “soul-destroying” LA traffic.

“To solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic, roads must go 3-D, which means either flying cars or tunnels. Unlike flying cars, tunnels are weatherproof, out of sight and won’t fall on your head,” says The Boring Company website in justification of a subterranean solution to LA’s wretched peak traffic.

Transporting vehicles, goods, or pedestrians through the tunnel would involve an electric skate – “a flat plate on wheels propelled by an electric motor” – which is safe, fast, and eco-friendly.

Conceptually, a vehicle would drive on to the skate at surface level, which would then sink below to the tunnel level and transport its payload from point A to point B in quick time.

“When the project is completed, the Test Tunnel would house a ‘skate’ system that would be tested to prove the viability for transporting pedestrians or personal vehicles. The concept is that a vehicle would be driving on to the skate, the engine would be turned off and the vehicle and its passenger would be transported from one end of the Test Tunnel to the other,” the company said in an August resolution last year.

“The Test Tunnel project would involve SpaceX engineers repeatedly testing and experimenting with personal vehicle types suitable for placement on the skates; refinement of the design and technology; and general data collection on performance, durability, and application. No public use of the Test Tunnel would occur, and no people would be occupying vehicles located on the skates as the skates are tested within the tunnel,” the resolution further stated.

Here’s a look at how the system is intended to work.

And here’s a video of the electric skate test run Elon posted earlier last year with a light-hearted disclaimer that it “may cause motion sickness or seizures.”

In October, the Maryland Department of Transportation gave Musk its nod of approval to bore a tunnel underneath a state-owned 10.3-mile-stretch of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway for the CEO’s ambitious rocket-speed Hyperloop project, which aims to transport passengers from Washington to New York in under 30 minutes.

Not everybody is impressed with Musk’s tunnel vision, though – pun unintended – as is evident from a tweet from Mark Hogan – Architect & Principal at @OpenScopeStudio.

He is of the opinion that the media is giving the man and his “stupid” tunnel unmerited publicity. He thinks it’s no big deal as similar projects are happening across the world.

Here’s one of the takers of the tunnel travel concept, saying it could well prove to be a “wonderful improvement for folks who have to get around in LA.”

And, here’s a tweet from someone who may not be a big Elon Musk fan but suggests that the man’s “attitude and appetite for risk and just doing” is worth being emulated.

This is from someone who laments the thought of not being able to have a similar mode of transportation in low lying Florida, where they can’t even have basements.

A map by the Boring Co. shows potential tunnels throughout the area – Photo: The Boring Co.
A map by the Boring Co. shows potential tunnels throughout the area – Photo: The Boring Co.

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