by Sara Lacey
Perhaps you were one of the many people excited about the big news of Tesla’s Solar Roof announced last week. This is great news for individuals looking into powering their homes (and cars) by way of solar energy, and Tesla is even taking preorders from early adopters as we speak.
But on May 12, there was another, slightly quieter piece of news that could benefit a lot more people from Tesla CEO Elon Musk: The Boring Company. Before we dig too deep into the news, let me back up. It all started with a frustrated tweet.
On December 17, 2016 via Twitter, Musk said, “Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…” To be sure we knew he wasn’t kidding, just over three hours later he tweeted, “I am actually going to do this.” The Boring Company is the manifestation of Musk’s desire to build tunnels underground (Get it? Boring?) to alleviate the aforementioned traffic congestion.
Of course, they aren’t just plain old tunnels for people to drive their cars through. To maximize the efficiency of the tunnels, they will house sleds on tracks. Drivers will park their car on a sled and the sled will carry them on the track up to 125 mph to their destination. Here, why don’t you watch the video mock-up:
Anyway, the news The Boring Company announced on May 12, 2017, was that they began digging their first tunnel on the SpaceX campus in Los Angeles. But don’t think these new underground highways will happen overnight. Tunnel boring is slow work (TBC’s boring machine is named Godot), so one of many of TBC’s aims is to figure out how to speed it up. Speeding it up will cut costs too. Other expensive components TBC is attempting to alleviate are low-power boring machines, inconsistent boring ability (50% of boring is actually cutting the hole; the other 50% is building structural supports), and a lack of R&D.
If TBC can get a handle on making boring more efficient and cost-effective, it will be fascinating to see how these thoroughfares will change the lives of entire cities and their congested roads.