2 years ago, Musk founded Boring Company, a construction firm that would provide an alternative transportation manner avoiding traffic jams. The concept is based on the idea of shooting electric cars through underground tunnels. Those cars may achieve speeds of around 150 miles/h covering large distances in short time.
To develop Musk's idea, Boring Company constructed a 1-mile test tunnel beneath Los Angeles. The tunnel was completed on December 18, 2018 and costed about $4 million. The tunnel is located in Hawthorne, 40 feet underneath the headquarters of SpaceX, a private aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company founded by Elon Musk. The underground project, accessible by an elevator, is much smaller than conventional tunnels, just wide enough to fit a car.
A set of wheels, aligned with the edges of the tunnel, are added to the car. Geoffrey A. Fowler, Washington Post’s technology columnist, had a chance to take a ride in the innovative tunnel. “It’s similar to running your car through an automated carwash, but much faster. Once a light at the front of the tunnel turned green, the car was off like a roller coaster. White paint and blue lighting along the top of the tunnel eased some of the sense of being trapped underground. The Tesla (SUV vehicle), has autonomous capabilities, did some of the driving itself — navigating curves while locked with those alignment wheels- but there was still a trained driver behind the wheel,” Mr. Fowler commented. “The ride was turbulent. The car jostled with many bumps in the concrete along the bottom of the tunnel, even though our top speed reached just 49 miles per hour. (The proximity to the tunnel walls made it seem like we were going faster.) It wasn’t rocky enough to lose your lunch, but it wasn’t an experience you’d tolerate from a public subway service,” he added.
Mr. Musk stated that Boring Company will soon find a way to smooth concrete's surfaces, making the ride much more pleasant providing the ability for maximum speed. “We are obviously in the early stages here — this is a prototype and we are figuring things out,” he said.
When asked about which cars could benefit from the new project, Musk said that only electric vehicles would be able to utilize the tunnel in order to avoid emissions. Moreover, cars need to be advanced enough to safely navigate at high speeds, entering the tubes at a rate of one car per second. Musk also stated that the cost of using the tunnel would be $4 for a private car and $1 for a shared public transit car.