Elon Musk’s Boring Company, supposedly a “small project with a few engineers and interns”, is quickly working toward its goal, which is officially “to solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic.”
After several announcements of upcoming large scale projects, like a network of tunnels under Los Angeles and an underground hyperloop between New York and Washington DC, the company is now presenting its R&D tunnel project underneath Hawthorne.
They plan to test boring techniques in the tunnel as well as Tesla’s autonomous driving and powertrain technologies on electric platforms to move vehicles.
In April, Musk’s new startup took delivery of their first boring machine and started digging in the parking lot of SpaceX’s headquarters.
They already obtained a permit for a 305-feet (100 meters) tunnel at the location, which they reportedly already completed.
Now they presented the second phase of the tunnel at a special meeting of the Hawthorne city council last week.
The current tunnel links SpaceX’s parking lot to 120th street and the second phase would follow the street over 2 miles (3.2 km) all the way to Hawthorne Boulevard.
At the presentation before the Hawthorne city council, Brett Horton, Senior Director of Facilities and Construction for both SpaceX and Boring Company, said that the tunnel would only be for research and development and not to transport people or cargo.
They aim to test their boring machine and find ways to improve it:
“It is a research and development tunnel meant for us to learn about our tunneling machine (Godot), understand the technology and where we can improve it, and also test and prove out the transportation system.”
Horton also explains that the transportation system will use Tesla’s autonomous driving technology and electric powertrain technology:
“To speak very quickly about how the transportation works and how we are going to be testing it in this tunnel, it is based on Tesla technology. We all know about autonomous driving and the capabilities we’ve seen demonstrated in various videos. We are going to use that technology, but instead of an enclosed Tesla, it’s going to be an electric skate.”
He said to imagine a Tesla Model S drivetrain, but with a platform instead of a cabin on top.
The Boring Company has so far been mostly associated with Elon Musk’s SpaceX so it’s interesting to see that Tesla, Musk other main company, is also being involved.
They have also been using Tesla vehicles in their demonstation videos.
The rest of Horton’s presentation revolved around safety requirements for building the tunnel. He went through several safety measures that the Boring Company is taking to ensure that it will be safe. It ranges from simple checks for gas lines, sewage, and optic cables, to more high-tech systems to monitor surface disruption from their tunneling efforts.
They aim to have no impact at the surface by digging just about 20 feet (6 meters) in the ground.
The meeting was to familiarize the members of the council with the project, which they now seek to expedite. City Manager Arnold Shadbehr was appointed to negotiate the terms for granting the permits for the project.
There’s a transcript of the full presentation via ticklestuff) and here’s a video of the presentation: