Transport

The Boring Company's tunneling contest pits entrants against a snail

The Boring Company's tunneling...
A look inside one of The Boring Company's test tunnels
A look inside one of The Boring Company's test tunnels
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A look inside one of The Boring Company's test tunnels
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A look inside one of The Boring Company's test tunnels
A look inside The Boring Company's test tunnel in LA
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A look inside The Boring Company's test tunnel in LA
The Boring Company's pet snail Gary
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The Boring Company's pet snail Gary
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Competitions that pit engineers, designers and creators against one another can be a great way to foster technological advances, and now The Boring Company is getting in on the act. Much like the SpaceX Hyperloop competitions or the many XPrize challenges, the Not-a-Boring Competition tasks entrants with developing innovative technologies that advance the art of tunneling, with a humble snail among their rivals.

The Boring Company entered the tunneling business looking to improve on the status quo in a few key ways. Inspired by the bottlenecks and logjams on the roads of Los Angeles, Elon Musk’s startup hopes to solve traffic woes with webs of transport tunnels that weave their way beneath them.

But the company sees a few key innovations as necessary to achieve its lofty ambitions. One is to improve the speed of these boring machines, which Musk has joked move around 14 times slower than a snail. The mollusc is serving as the company’s yardstick as it works to increase the acceleration of its tunneling machines, which it hopes will eventually beat its pet snail Gary in a race.

The Boring Company's pet snail Gary
The Boring Company's pet snail Gary

The Not-a-Boring Competition will also challenge its entrants to beat the snail. Where the company hopes to achieve this by making more powerful machines that can autonomously dig on a continuous basis and build the support structures for the tunnel as they go, the participants can go about developing their solutions however they want, but will need to keep a few things in mind.

Competitors will need to use their solutions to bore a 30-meter-long (98-ft) tunnel with a cross-sectional area of 0.2 square meters (2.15 sq ft), which the company notes is equivalent to a circle with a diameter of 0.5 m (1.6 ft).

A look inside The Boring Company's test tunnel in LA
A look inside The Boring Company's test tunnel in LA

Winners will be awarded across a number of categories, including the fastest to complete the tunnel, the most accurate guidance system that keeps the tunnel on target, and the fastest to furnish their tunnel with a driving surface. The Boring Company says it will drive a remote-controlled Tesla through the tunnel once complete and has put the call out to students, companies, hobbyists and anyone who is interested to enter the competition, which is set to take place in the springtime (US) of next year. No information has been released regarding prizes.

Source: The Boring Company

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5 comments
Captain Danger
The numbers do not look right
Are they driving a scale model through the tunnel? A regular size car will not fit through a 2ft^2 area.
Fred van Dongen
A teeny weeny Tesla
anthony88
I've met people who are boring along a distance of over 10 kilometres at an average speed of 42 kilometres an hour.
FB36
"Inspired by the bottlenecks and logjams on the roads of Los Angeles":
The Boring Company already tried to help in Los Angeles but a group of residents sued the project in the middle, asking/forcing many years of environmental studies etc, & the project got cancelled!

I am guessing that is the real reason, why nobody can solve the traffic problem in Los Angeles:
Giving too much power to residents to sue (& force cancelling)!

Maybe a new law is needed that makes all infrastructure projects immune against all lawsuit attempts?

(& how all other cities able to do it anyway?)
Daishi
@FB36 The legal requirements are bonkers in more places than LA. There is a good documentary about a guy in SF that tried to put in a housing development where his laundromat was and he ended up with $1.4 million in legal bills (and 5 years of time) because anyone can block the project for any reason with a $40 form. People are blocking new construction for the reason of fighting gentrification without noticing or caring that additional housing would help with the housing crisis. It's not specifically about tunneling but I believe it offers a lot of useful context to the types of political challenges new projects can face: https://reason.com/video/san-francisco-mission-housing-crisis/