Elon Musk and the Boring Company Continue to Drill Forward

By Thomas Price Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Of the many different technological minds of this generation, Elon Musk might be the most ambitious. With his innovative work creating electric vehicles with Tesla, his creation of commercial space travel and reusable rockets with SpaceX, and his eventual plans for connected brain chips with Neuralink, Musk has set the bar for his goals extremely high — and has been fairly successful, to say the least. One of his projects in particular has garnered serious attention and also a small bit of criticism. That project is the Hyperloop, and it is in various stages of development all over the United States. Created through his business, The Boring Company, the many tunnels currently in development have lofty goals for the near future. So what are the long term plans for these tunnels, and where exactly do they stand as of right now?

The Boring Company’s Goals

Elon Musk and The Boring Company’s main goal, in a nutshell, is to reduce traffic congestion and speed up travel times between major cities. It is a fairly simple concept and essentially straightforward; however, the execution of this is a bit more complex. Musk’s plan is basically to build large tunnels underneath the cities, and in those tunnels would be large, autonomous electric sleds which a car would lock into and then have that sled shoot the car at 120 miles per hour to the desired city. Those who were not in cars, such as bikers or pedestrians, would be put in glass-plated electric sleds that would achieve the same speeds. This vision was futuristic and exciting when first announced in 2017, as the possibility of high-speed travel between cities without air travel or other more tedious means brought serious interest to the project. However, while there have certainly been some successes and continued development and planning, Musk’s goals for traffic-less city-to-city travel has yet to be realized. Here is the state of his ongoing projects across the United States.

The Current State of Hyperloop Tunnels

Perhaps the best place to start would be with Musk’s most complete project so far. In Las Vegas, earlier this year, the Boring Company completed construction on their two, one-mile tunnels underneath the city near the Las Vegas Convention Center. The two tunnels will be open for business in January 2021; however, it will be very different from Musk’s original goals. Instead of having autonomous sleds reaching well over 100 miles per hour, the tunnels will have Tesla cars operated by a driver taking passengers back and forth with a top speed of just 35 miles per hour. There is a possibility of Musk converting Model 3 Teslas into trams capable of carrying 12-16 people to make a slightly more efficient tunnel for those who will be using it; however, this is still falling rather short of initial expectations.

As for his other projects currently ongoing around the United States, none have gotten close to the progress of Las Vegas. His loop project from Baltimore to Washington D.C. has recently been significantly scaled back from the original goals, and his plans to create a loop from O’Hare Airport to downtown Chicago looks like it is no longer going to happen under the new Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, who wishes to see the project scrapped. But there appears to be new hope stemming from Austin with the Boring Company posting job listings in the city, though no solidified statements have been made. In the meantime, the company’s plans for a hyperloop between Washington D.C. and New York are still pending approval, though concerns have been made of the curved nature of the loop near Baltimore, which would create the need to significantly lower the speed of the autonomous sleds due to the sheer g force it would otherwise generate.

Final Conclusions

Elon Musk’s goals for high-speed travel from city to city have not yet been truly realized. With completed projects seriously watered down from initial expectations, and other major plans all in different stages of development with concerns of their own, it would take some genuine innovation from Musk in order to bring forth the vision he once had for the Boring Company back in 2017.

About the Author

Headshot for author Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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