Urban Transport

The Boring Company starts work on prototype garage with private entrance to tunnel network

The Boring Company starts work...
A shot of The Boring Company's test tunnel, which will soon be connected to a prototype garage
A shot of The Boring Company's test tunnel, which will soon be connected to a prototype garage
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The Boring Company has won approval to build a prototype garage that spits cars directly into its tunnel network
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The Boring Company has won approval to build a prototype garage that spits cars directly into its tunnel network
A shot of The Boring Company's test tunnel, which will soon be connected to a prototype garage
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A shot of The Boring Company's test tunnel, which will soon be connected to a prototype garage
A Tesla undergoes testing in a Boring Company test tunnel
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A Tesla undergoes testing in a Boring Company test tunnel
The Boring Company's tunneling machine
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The Boring Company's tunneling machine
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Imagine walking into your garage and hopping in your car to drive to work, except rather than toughing it out on the traffic-choked roads of LA, an elevator drops you directly into a high-speed tunnel network sprawling beneath the city. The Boring Company has just gained approval to work towards this future, and will now build a prototype garage that will connect with one of its existing test tunnels.

Elon Musk first floated the idea of building tunnel networks beneath cities to avoid traffic in 2016, and the concept has gathered some considerable momentum since. Speaking on popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience this week, he explained the inspiration for it thusly.

"The fundamental issue with roads is you have a 2D transport system and a 3D living and workspace environment," he said. "So you have got all these tall buildings or concentrated work environments and then you want to go into this 2D transport system, which is pretty low density, because cars are spaced out pretty far. And so, that is obviously not going to work, you're going to have traffic guaranteed. But if you can go 3D on your transport system, then you can solve all traffic."

Rather than turn to flying cars like many have, his tunneling startup The Boring Company aims to deposit cars and people into subterranean tubes through elevators and ramps. Once there, they would be hitched onto electric sleds and shuttled along at speeds of up to 150 mph (241 km/h) across the city.

The Boring Company has won approval to build a prototype garage that spits cars directly into its tunnel network
The Boring Company has won approval to build a prototype garage that spits cars directly into its tunnel network

These elevators and ramps would be built into the cityscape, much like entrances to subway stations, and now it appears they could one day pop up in people's homes, too. As reported by The Mercury News, The Boring Company has been granted approval from the Hawthorne City Council, where it is headquartered, to build a new kind of garage as a proof of concept.

For its purposes, the company actually purchased a private residential lot adjacent to its existing test tunnel, notified more than 100 residents of the potential for noise and its plans to start digging. It will now start work on building the garage, which will house a car elevator and private connection to the test tunnel, giving the home's residents direct access to the network.

A Tesla undergoes testing in a Boring Company test tunnel
A Tesla undergoes testing in a Boring Company test tunnel

As part of the agreement, The Boring Company cannot grant public access to the elevator or have cars driving in off the street. Cars used to test the system can only enter through the adjacent SpaceX campus, though the newspaper reports that the team hopes to eventually rent out the house to who we assume will be Batman and his friends.

"What we want to do is show proof of concept and as quickly as possible," The Boring Company representative Brett Horton, told The Mercury News. "We are not asking to go around the public process. Yes, we do move fast. We are trying to revolutionize transportation and don't want to get bogged down."

In Musk's mind, there appears little doubt that if The Boring Company is allowed to keep digging, it is just a matter of time before it strikes gold.

"Oh it will work for sure … you know, it's just a hole in the ground. You can go real fast, you can go as fast as you want, and if you want to go long distances you can draw the air out of the tunnel and make sure it's real straight, have a vacuum tunnel," he told Joe Rogan, alluding to the potential for a Hyperloop.

Source: The Mercury News

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3 comments
Juanjo
To go 3D in transport is not only elevators related but also to many small tunnels or fewer but big "holes". The method to pump cars in the tunnel(s) at high speed is obviously computer controlled but that method may be also used in surface transport with autonomous cars and computer controlled traffic. That technology is also coming "fast". So if everything but the road is equal, boring is more expensive than surface roads. Nevertheless, there are a lot of variables involved in the equation (100? 200?). For example, would be "free" the city permissions in the future? What about water finding and pumping needed? Very deep boring is needed in big cities, which have a lot of services in various subsurface levels. Anyway the testing they are doing is a very good idea to solve, hopefully, many of the questions.
paul314
If you were doing this on a per-house basis, pretty much only the top 0.1% would be able to afford it. But as a demo it's cute.
Riaanh
Yeah, I don't know about this one.... The problem with a tunnel is that it is actually 1D. You will need to dig a shithouse full of newtorked tunnels to make it feasible.