We all know the genius of Elon Musk, going from space to electric super cars, but he just went a step further, and wants to send us to the center of the Earth (or close). Musk new startup, named The Boring Company, will create tunnels to solve the traffic problem in the cities, and they have today, added a FAQ section to their website, with lots of new information about the project.
In the section, it states that the inspiration to the company creation, is “to solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic”, and rather than following the floating cars approach, that the sci-fi enthusiasts love so much, he is instead focusing on going underground, since it’s waterproof, and much more safe as there is no risk of cars dropping from the sky, and finally, we can in theory build limitless layers of underground tunnels, and we don’t need to mind about birds and planes and weather conditions.
Although this is a great idea there are two major problems: first there’s the cost, which is very high, and second the existing tunnels don’t support Hyperloop pods, and that’s what Musk’s new company is out to fix!
“Currently, tunnels are really expensive to dig, with some projects costing as much as $1 billion per mile. In order to make a tunnel network feasible, tunneling costs must be reduced by a factor of more than 10”, states the new FAQ. To make the tunnel more cost effective and efficient, its diameter is going to be less than 4 meters which is less than the lane tunnels at the surface, with about 8.5 meters in diameter. To accomplish it, Musk’s tunnel company would use what it calls an “electric sled”.
Musk already have a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), known as Godot, that is ready to start digging, but is literally slower than a snail, and for now, that keeps the costs very high, the faster it gets, the cheaper the tunnel.
They already have a place to start digging, under Los Angeles, and have the machine to do it, but what is the tunnel really meant for? Unlike what was thought before, these tunnels have nothing to do with the common ones, the purpose of the “electric skate” is not only to transport cars, but to transport also goods and persons at around 200 km per hour, and if a vacuum shell is added, the pod can travel at almost 1000 km per hour.