The Boring Company, a tunnel construction company founded by Elon Musk a couple years ago, has unveiled a 1.14-mile demonstration track. And The Boring Company demonstrated modified Tesla Model X SUV traveling between 40 and 50 miles per hour through the tunnel on Tuesday night.
The modified Model X vehicles feature deployable alignment wheels on the front two wheels. And the alignment wheels work as a bumper on along the track walls inside the tunnel and keeps the Model X running along the rail just like a train. And the tracking wheels keeps the car on track even if the driver falls asleep.
However, passengers who have tested out The Boring Company tunnel pointed out that the surfaces are bumpy and the ride is rough. The alignment wheels also repeatedly bump into the track walls.
Ultimately, The Boring Company has a goal of constructing tunnels that are miles long in a number of major cities to help solve traffic gridlock problems. Musk came up with the idea for the company after getting frustrated by the traffic in Los Angeles repeatedly. The demonstration tunnel cost about $10 million to build.
As no one was building a tunnel system, Musk hired Steve Davis from SpaceX — which is an aerospace company founded by Musk — to serve as president of The Boring Company. Musk said that The Boring Company makes tunnel digging ten times cheaper by using the dirt for creating bricks on-site rather than trucking it off somewhere. And the bricks are sold for 10 cents each (non-profits can take bricks for free).
“I thought it was epic,” Musk explained about the experience of traveling through The Boring Company demonstration tunnel via CNBC. “For me it was an epiphany, like ‘this thing damn well worked.'”
One of the passengers that tested out The Boring Company’s tunnel was Gayle King, the co-host of “CBS This Morning”:
The 1.14-mile tunnel was built under one of the main streets in Hawthorne, California. One of the tunnel’s ends starts in a parking lot that is owned by SpaceX. And the other end is at a parking lot of a shutdown business.
The tunnel is 12 feet in diameter and cars would eventually be able to travel up to 150 miles per hour on autopilot. Since the autopilot has radar and cameras, it will be able to automatically slow down before it impacts another vehicle.
When King asked about earthquakes, Musk said that damage, in that case, happens on the surface rather than underground. Musk said that it is like waves hitting a boat floating on the ocean and pointed out that it is better to be in a submarine deep underwater if there’s a major storm. People who are in subway tunnels during earthquakes escape injuries such as what happened in Mexico City back in 1968 when zero people in subway tunnels died.
The Boring Company also has a deal signed with the City of Chicago to develop a 17-mile tunnel between the business district and O’Hare Airport. This deal was signed six months ago, but it is still pending government and regulatory approval.