Fueled by his exasperation with the horrendous LA traffic, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk came up with this outrageous idea of building tunnels under the city to escape the daily torture of driving for hours in traffic. Months later, the public finally got their first glimpse of what Musk’s underground tunnel would look like and how it will work.
During an interview at the recently held TED conference in Vancouver, in the midst of discussing his ongoing ventures with Tesla, SpaceX and his latest – digging tunnels under LA via The Boring Company — Musk presented a short concept video (posted below) of his grand and ambitious traffic solution.
The video showed a computer-generated network of underground tunnels which vehicles can access by parking on elevators located on the outermost lane of the road. Once lowered beneath the ground, the vehicle would remain on a silver metal platform called a ‘car skate’ which would whisk it to its destination at a speed of over 120 miles per hour.
Towards the end of the video, there’s a hint of a public transport option, as a see- through vehicle with a number of people inside was shown waiting for its turn on the elevator, before descending underground. In theory, this underground tunnel system can drastically cut travel time. A typical 40-minute commute from Westwood to LAX will become a quick 5 – 6 minute ride.
As he explained to TED’s Head Curator Chris Anderson: “We’re trying to dig a hole under LA, and this is to create the beginning of what will be a 3D network of tunnels to alleviate congestion.”
For anyone who has experienced the nightmare of traffic, especially for those who have to go through it every day, any solution, even a far-off one, is a welcome thought. That said, Musk’s proposed underground road system — while an exciting prospect — is years away from becoming a reality. Work on it has started, though, with Musk buying a “boring” machine and his tunneling workforce digging and constructing a test track below SpaceX’s Hawthorne, California headquarters’ parking lot.
Still, it’s going to take billions of dollars before the project can really begin to take shape. Not to mention the monumental number of reports and permits that will be required by the government to dig under the suburbs and build those network of tunnels.
But because of the visionary that he is, Musk is not likely to be fazed by these challenges. He’s in the business of technology, after all. If anyone can overcome those hurdles, it’s Musk. And he’ll probably do it in the most futuristic way possible. He has plans to colonize Mars for crying out loud. If he can conquer space, there’s really no reason to think that he won’t be able to find a way to conquer what’s simply under our feet.
So far, the only thing we have on The Boring Company is its website URL and the video Musk showed which is now posted on the site. We’re pretty sure that will not stay as is for long. If you want to keep abreast of what’s happening with those tunnels, check out their website from time to time.