Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed new details about his futuristic tunnel-boring project during his TED Talk on Friday.
The Boring Company, Musk’s latest venture, led by SpaceX engineer Steve Davis, is working on building a network of underground tunnels in Los Angeles that would transport cars on an electric skate. The skate would propel cars through the tunnel at a maximum speed of 130 mph – fast enough to get from Westwood to Los Angeles in five minutes, Musk said.
Musk showed the very first visualization of the project during his TED Talk. A car would pull into a metal container that would then transport it underground:
An electric skate would then rocket the car through the tunnel:
Musk has said the underground network would include as many as 30 layers of tunnels, which could accommodate cars and a Hyperloop.
The Boring Company is currently building a demo tunnel in SpaceX’s parking lot, but it would need permits from the city of Los Angeles to extend beyond the property line. Musk’s website for the company, BoringCompany.com, went live Friday.
Musk is juggling quite a few projects on top of the Boring Company, including Tesla’s upcoming Model 3 launch and the rollout of a solar roof product. He also launched an artificial-intelligence company, Neuralink, while being the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla.
But Musk said the Boring Company was taking only “2 or 3 percent” of his time. Interns and Tesla employees are working part-time on the project.
Tunnel-boring is a notoriously expensive process. The Boring Company is looking to cut down costs by building a machine that can dig and place reinforcements in the wall at the same time, Musk said. Tunneling machines traditionally dig for half the time and then go back to add reinforcements, a longer and costlier process.
Musk said the Boring Company would also cut costs by improving the power and thermal limit of its tunneling machine by “a factor of four or five.”
“We have a pet snail called Gary. … So Gary is capable of currently going 14 times faster than a tunnel boring machine,” Musk said. “We want to beat Gary. He is not a patient little fellow, and that will be victory.”