Elon Musk's 'Boring Company' Shows Concepts for Underground Maze of Roads

Sunday, 30 April 2017 - 12:40PM
Science News
SpaceX
Sunday, 30 April 2017 - 12:40PM
Elon Musk's 'Boring Company' Shows Concepts for Underground Maze of Roads
YouTube/The Boring Company
Late last year, Elon Musk created The Boring Company on a whim, as a means of digging enormous tunnels under Los Angeles to help deal with the traffic. It's generally been a secondary project to his other companies like Tesla, SpaceX, and even the cyborg-creating Neuralink, but there's been work on it all the same.

In a new concept video uploaded to YouTube, the Boring Company shows a utopian Los Angeles (normally an oxymoron) full of these underground tunnel mazes. This red car, unsurprisingly a Tesla, enters the labyrinth through a roadside elevator and is then catapulted across the city inside a small electric cart, surrounded by countless other Teslas on similar carts. The car's wheels don't need to turn, as the electric cart is already speeding along at 124 miles per hour (200 kilometers an hour).



As always, there are usually some drastically important factors separating a concept video from reality. Speaking to how on earth he plans to do this, Musk recently spoke at a TED Talk in Vancouver about plans for efficiency. While most tunneling operations simply make the hole first and then reinforce it, Musk believes he can use his enormous drilling machines to do both at once and save precious time and resources. Along with simply increasing the power of his machines, he also says the tunnels can be much smaller than normal roads, since multiple lanes won't be an issue:

Opening quote
"So a single-road lane tunnel, according to regulations, has to be 26 feet, maybe 28 feet in diameter to allow for crashes and emergency vehicles and sufficient ventilation for combustion-engine cars. But if you shrink that diameter to what we're attempting which is 12 feet - which is plenty to get an electric skate through - you drop the diameter by a factor of two and the cross-sectional area by a factor of four."
Closing quote


Again, this is still in the hypothetical stages, and Musk has not yet been granted the authorization to hollow out the ground beneath LA. But Musk sounds about ready to start drilling, and amazingly, digging secret tunnels underneath a major city is somehow one of his less supervillainous-sounding projects at the moment.

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