Elon Musk unveils LA underground tunnel plan

Elon Musk's Boring Company unveils first Los Angeles tunnel and futuristic transport system

Hawthorne Test Tunnel is first step towards 'solving the problem of soul-destroying traffic,' company says

Anthony Cuthbertson@ADCuthbertson
Wednesday 19 December 2018 10:01

Elon Musk’s tunnel-digging venture is set to unveil a prototype of its next-generation transport system, complete with “ground to tunnel car elevators” .

After almost two years of digging, The Boring Company will show off its Hawthorne Test Tunnel in California, which will include the O’Leary Station.

The Boring Company said the test tunnel is being used for the research and development of the firm’s proposed public transportation system.

“The purpose is to demonstrate that a lift can be built in very small footprints and within existing buildings, whether they are houses, office buildings, or retail parking lots,” the company said.

“Looking forward, one could have a lift in the basement of every office building, allowing extremely efficient commutes.”

Elon Musk, who founded The Boring Company after becoming frustrated with LA traffic, said earlier this month the 18 December event would be “more than a tunnel opening.”

He tweeted: “Will include modded but fully road legal autonomous transport cars & ground to tunnel car elevators.”

The two-mile Hawthorne Test Tunnel runs beneath 120th Street in LA, originating from the car park at SpaceX on Crenshaw Boulevard.

Images circulating on social media reveal the company has also built a medieval-style watchtower at the tunnel’s entrance, apparently referencing an article in Wired that claimed the entrepreneur interrupts meetings to play clips of Monty Python.

Mr Musk tweeted he is looking for “a knight to yell insults at people in a French accent,” referring to the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The tower is a demonstration of how excavated dirt from the tunnels can be recycled into bricks for building structures.

In a recent interview with comedian Joe Rogan, Mr Musk revealed The Boring Company had started out as a joke and he is still uncertain about whether it will be successful.

“We are going to build a tunnel,” he said. “And maybe that tunnel will be successful. And maybe it won’t.”

A tunnel digger in Los Angeles built by The Boring Company.

If it is successful, the tunnels will enable a transportation system called ‘Loop’, which the company says will “solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic” and transform how people travel around urban environments.

“Loop is a high-speed underground public transportation system in which passengers are transported on autonomous electric skates traveling at 125-150 miles per hour,” The Boring Company’s website explains.

“Electric skates will carry between 8 and 16 passengers (public transportation), or a single passenger vehicle... The electric skates are faster than conventional subway cars, and are autonomous vehicles. Most importantly, Loop is an “express” public transit system – through the use of a main artery with side tunnels for entry/exit, passengers travel directly to their final destination without stopping.”

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