Elon Musk unveils Boring Company’s first Los Angeles-area tunnel

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New Delhi | Published: December 19, 2018 4:51:19 PM

In a tweet earlier this month, Musk said the big reveal would include "autonomous transport cars & ground to tunnel elevator cars."

Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc, speaks during an unveiling event for the Boring Co. Hawthorne test tunnel in Hawthorne, California, on December 18. (Image: AP)

Elon Musk unveiled his underground transportation tunnel, allowing reporters and guests to take some of the first rides in the revolutionary tube developed by his Boring Company. Guests boarded Musk’s Tesla Model S and rode along Los Angeles-area surface streets about a mile away to O’Leary Station.

The demo rides were also considerably slower at 64 kmph, much lower than what Musk says the future system will run, at 241 kmph. The tunnel is just a test to prove the technology works and could one-day solve traffic problems.
Musk explained how he’s cutting costs. Measures include improving the speed of construction with smarter tools, eliminating middlemen, building more powerful boring machines, and instead of hauling out all the dirt being excavated, Musk is turning them into bricks and selling them for 10 cents.
The Boring Company, Elon Musk’s underground transit venture, planned to unveil its first tunnel two years after the billionaire entrepreneur complained about Los Angeles traffic and vowed to “just start digging” as a remedy.
Musk has advertised his 3.2 km tunnel as the first step toward developing a high-speed subterranean network for whisking vehicles and pedestrians below the congested streets of the second-largest city in the United States.
The tunnel, an initial proof-of-concept, has been excavated along a path that runs not through Los Angeles but beneath the tiny adjacent municipality of Hawthorne, where Musk’s Boring Company and his SpaceX rocket firm are both headquartered.
The Boring Company announced plans for a live webcast of what it called a “product launch” for the tunnel but gave scant details.
In a tweet earlier this month, Musk said the big reveal would include “autonomous transport cars & ground to tunnel elevator cars.”
Boring’s website describes a system of passenger- and automobile-carrying “skates” that can zip through the tunnels by way of electric power once they are lowered underground from street level.
Musk, best known as head of the Tesla Inc., an electric car manufacturer and energy company, launched his foray into public transit after complaining in December 2016 that L.A.’s traffic was driving him nuts.

In May, the company gave the world a preview of the first tunnel, posting a fast-forward video of the interior shot by a camera travelling the length of the cylindrical passageway, which measures about 12 feet in diameter.
If successful, the Hawthorne tunnel is envisioned as eventually connecting to a network of other tunnels, yet to be approved or built.
In June, Boring was selected by the city of Chicago to build a 17-mile underground transit system linking that city’s downtown to O’Hare International Airport. The company also has proposed an East Coast Loop that would run from Washington, D.C., out to the Maryland suburbs.

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