Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s New Project is a Giant Tunnel
Billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk is widely known for his ultra-successful ventures Tesla and SpaceX; in the near future, however, he will also be known as the founder of the Boring Company, an engineering firm that will attempt to solve massive gridlock by means of giant underground tunnels.The first project for the Boring Company started in early February at the SpaceX facility in California. Musk’s new company has a single mission to accomplish: to efficiently drill and bore massive tunnels. The idea is to provide relief to the disturbing traffic congestion in Los Angeles; at this point, however, the specific function of the tunnel has not been defined. It may serve as an underground freeway or it may become part of the Hyperloop, a more ambitious mass transportation project that Musk has placed on the back burner for the time being.
Days before the tunnel project got underway, Musk was seen in the District of Columbia inspecting the Anacostia River Tunnel and the city sewers. He was very interested in the machine made by German engineering firm Herrenknecht AG, which was used to bore the 2.5 mile long Anacostia tunnel. The Boring Company intends to become a leader in tunneling. To do this, Musk has purchased a boring machine used by the Los Angeles Transportation Authority. The entrepreneur believes that tunneling machines could be improved so that they work faster and more efficiently.
Underground tunneling is a complex activity that is both expensive and time-consuming. Musk hopes that his machines will revolutionize tunneling by working at speeds that are 500 to 1000 percent faster than the status quo. If the Boring Company is successful, more traffic tunnels could be developed to ease gridlock. As with other Musk projects, there is more to the Boring Company than just tunneling. His interest in tunnels is related to his interest in the colonization of Mars, a mission that SpaceX hopes to launch by 2050. Underground shelters and habitats are among the proposed ideas for a mission to the Red Planet, as colonizers cannot be expected to survive in the surface conditions, which include very low temperatures and high levels of radiation.
It is important to note that Musk has not entirely given up on the Hyperloop project, which can be designed to operate above ground or in underground tunnels. Mass transit is more attractive to Musk than civil engineering projects; however, he realizes that something must be done soon to improve traffic conditions in challenging metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles.