Why is Elon Musk Boring?

Luke Davis

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Elon Musk is currently digging holes under LA with a his company he named “The Boring Company”. He is attempting to make a 3D network of tunnels underground to alleviate ground congestion and traffic, which he says will only worsen with the new and upcoming technology of self driving cars. Here’s how it works: a car gets onto something kind of like an above ground elevator to go down into the tunnel. The elevator forms a kind of car skate that descends underground with the car on top. There would be no speed limit underground, and you would probably be going about 130 mph average.

You may be thinking, “But that just makes more congestion down below and the problem starts all over again! Flying cars would be much smarter!” While this is a good point, it can be disproved fairly easily with three counterpoints:

  1. The main problem with flying cars is that they are very noisy and the windforce they make will be very high.
  2. There is no real limit to how many tunnels can be built in the near future, so there will be many different levels and lanes to go on
  3. There is lots more space underground than above; for example, the deepest tunnels are much deeper than the tallest buildings are tall.

“But wait!” you think, “isn’t digging very expensive?”

You would be right. Digging is usually very expensive. The LA tunnel extension (which was only about two and a half miles) cost almost two billion dollars. But Elon Musk has a way to fix that too. To reduce the cost, he is planning on reducing the tunnel width by two or more full diameters. It usually must be about 26 to 28 feet wide to allow for crashes and emergencies, but Musk is trying to shrink it to 12. Another way he will reduce the cost is efficiency. Currently tunneling machines go for half the time, stop, put in reinforcements for the tunnel wall, then go again. Elon Musk needs to make a machine that can dig and reinforce continuously without stopping. Currently the machines aren’t going to their power or thermal limit, and if they do, you can make tunneling much more efficient. The Boring Company’s pet snail named Gary can currently go fourteen times faster than an average tunnel boring drill. Their goal is to beat Gary. And this only takes up about 2-3% of Elon Musk’s time! This is a hobby and could still change the way we think about driving.

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Why is Elon Musk Boring?