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Musk teases with first look at Boring Company tunnel and ‘electric sled’

Tunnel digging at Elon Musk’s The Boring Company are well underway. The serial tech entrepreneur has unveiled first photos showing the company’s boring machine being loaded into a tunnel beneath SpaceX. The newly named Boring Company machine will be called Godot and the first of a series of machines that will be responsible for digging a 3D tunnel network beneath Los Angeles, as envisioned by Musk.

“You can alleviate any arbitrary level of open congestion with a 3D tunnel network.” said Musk recently at TED2017.  “There’s no real limit to how many levels of tunnels you can have.”



Musk also released a video on Instagram showing a proof of concept of the ‘electric sled’ that will serve as the basis for transporting passenger vehicles underground at speeds up to 125 mph (200 km/h). The key differentiator between a traditional tunnel that typically spans 26 to 28-feet in diameter and The Boring Company’s tunnel is that the later is roughly half the size. Digging smaller tunnels allows Musk’s company to substantially reduce the cost of creating underground tunnels while also speeding up the process of digging, cutting the time associated with digging by as much as 75%. Godot will also be able to create the tunnel wall while it’s digging, which will be a far departure from the stop-and-go process found in traditional tunnel digging. Traditional machines dig slowly and incrementally, stopping to install reinforcements to newly exposed earth wall before continuing.


“Cutterhead in operation at standard industry speed. Planning to jack this up by a factor of ten” reads a Tweet by Musk which speaks to one of the goals set for The Boring Company. Being able to increase the speed of tunnel digging also requires a substantial increase in the power and thermal limits of the machines. One needs to ‘jack up the power’ to the digging machines said Musk during his recent sit-down at TED in Vancouver.

Digging at a faster speed will allow the company to achieve, yet, another goal set forth by the Tesla and SpaceX chief – beat the company’s pet snail named Gary who can currently travel at 14 times the speed of existing tunneling machines.

 

Though it’s not clear where Musk’s first tunnel beneath SpaceX will ultimately lead to, one can presume that it would connect the space company with nearby LAX airport.

Here’s a concept video showing what a completed tunnel network would look like beneath Los Angeles.

Musk teases with first look at Boring Company tunnel and ‘electric sled’

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