‘No longer waiting for Godot’: Elon Musk’s TBM finishes first tunnel segment

On 28 June 2017 Godot, the tunnel boring machine (TBM) belonging to Elon Musk’s The Boring Company, finished digging the first segment of a tunnel in Los Angeles – just over six months since his first tweet on the topic.

Credit: @elonmusk 

Back in December last year, Musk tweeted his idea to build tunnels to avoid the hectic LA traffic. Though the first tweet might have been considered a joke, the follow-ups made clear that he was serious.


Less than two months later, he followed up with this photo:

Cerdit: @elonmusk

And a day later, this one:

Credit: @elonmusk

Fast forward three months, and on 12 May Musk uploaded a video of the first test run of The Boring Company’s electric sled, reaching a speed of 200kph. In the meantime, the company had also uploaded a concept video showing how the tunnel system would work, and where this sled would fit in. Cars would drive onto a lift-like platform, which would lower them into the tunnels through which they would then be transported at speeds of up to 200kph.

125 mph Speed Run 

Watch the test run of The Boring Company’s electric sled, which would transport cars at 200km/h through the tunnels.
Credit: Instagram - elonmusk

Then, last month, Musk said he was in ‘promising talks’ with the Mayor of Los Angeles about a proposed tunnel network to carry cars, bikes and pedestrians across the city. According to The Boring Company’s FAQ:
To alleviate traffic, transportation corridors, like the buildings that feed into them, must expand into three dimensions. One option is to ‘go up’ with flying cars. However, flying cars have issues with weather, noise and generally increase anxiety levels of those below them. The other option is to ‘go down’ and build tunnels.

A day later, he posted a video showing the newly installed steel skeleton for the car/pod elevator, which he said should be operating the following week.

The tunnelling project, it appears, also fits in with the tech entrepreneur’s plans to reinvent transportation with the Hyperloop project. According to Hyperloop One website, ‘Hyperloop is a new way to move people and things at airline speeds for the price of a bus ticket. It's on-demand, energy-efficient and safe. Think: broadband for transportation.’

Hyperloop One: The Future Is Happening

The video recaps some of the finest moments, from its early garage-days to the present.
Credit: Hyperloop One

Everything that they learn about increasing the speed and decreasing the cost of tunnelling through The Boring Company’s tunnelling project can be used in making the Hyperloop One project a reality.


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By Robyn Grimsley
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