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The Boring Company is an infrastructure and tunnel construction company founded by Elon Musk in late 2016. Musk has cited difficulty with Los Angeles traffic and limitations with the current 2-D transportation network as inspiration for the tunneling company project.Contents
The company was founded in 2016, after Elon Musk mentioned the idea of making tunnels on his Twitter account.
By February 2017, the company had begun digging a 30-foot-wide (9 m), 50-foot-long (15 m), and 15-foot-deep (4.6 m) testing trench on the premises of SpaceX's offices in Hawthorne, CA, since construction on its site requires no permits. When told by employees on a Friday afternoon that it would take at least two weeks to move staff cars in the parking lot and start digging the first hole with the Boring Company tunneling machine, Musk said "Let's get started today and see what's the biggest hole we can dig between now and Sunday afternoon, running 24 hours a day." Later that day, the cars were gone and there was a hole in the ground.
In an interview during a TED conference in May 2017, Musk ventured that this company's project had taken 2% of his time, making this project a personal hobby.
In March 2017, Musk announced that sometime in April the company would start using a tunnel boring machine (TBM) to begin digging a usable tunnel at SpaceX. At the end of April 2017, a TBM was seen at SpaceX with the company's name on the side. The TBM was revealed to be named "Godot" in May 2017, after the Beckett play Waiting for Godot. Future TBMs will also be named after poems, plays, poets, and playwrights. Musk says the first route created will run from LAX to Culver City, then to Santa Monica, and end in Westwood. Musk claims the tunnel trip will take five minutes, compared to normal driving that can take up to 45 minutes in normal traffic to go from LAX to Westwood. These trips will be implemented by placing a car on an electric sled and traveling at 125 miles per hour (201 km/h) through tunnels. By November 2017, the company had filed permitting application with Los Angeles government regulators to build a tunnel from Hawthorne along Interstate 405 to Westwood.
In July 2017, Musk said that The Boring Company had received verbal government approval to build an underground Hyperloop connecting New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. In October 2017, the company obtained a utility permit for the construction of the Baltimore-Washington tunnel from the Maryland’s Department of Transportation. This part of the tunnel - some 35 miles between Penn Station in Baltimore to Washington Union Station - will start near Fort Meade. The October 2017 Maryland government permit for utilities indicated that construction could begin in January 2018 on two parallel 12.4-mile (20.0 km) electric-sled tunnels that would run from Maryland Route 175 to downtown Baltimore terminating near Camden Yards.
The New York to Washington, D.C. Hyperloop, which Musk has claimed will take 29 minutes to travel from city center to city center, could be built in the future at the same time as the Los Angeles tunnel system announced in May. Other projects include a San Francisco to Los Angeles Hyperloop and a Texas Hyperloop, which are planned for a later stage.
In July 2017, Musk uploaded a video depicting a successful test of a prototype car elevator. In October, Musk revealed the second TBM is named "Line-storm", named after the Robert Frost poem “A Line-Storm Song”.
In November 2017, Musk stated that The Boring Company would respond to a Request for Quotation (RFQ) from the Chicago Infrastructure Trust and the City of Chicago to "design, build, finance, operate and maintain an express service through a public-private partnership" from O'Hare International Airport to downtown Chicago.Feasibility Earth
According to Musk, the company's goal is to enhance tunneling speed enough such that establishing an underground tunnel network is financially feasible.
"If you think of tunnels going 10, 20, 30 layers deep (or more), it is obvious that going 3D down will encompass the needs of any city’s transport of arbitrary size."— Elon Musk
Future boring operations will implement a contemporaneous operation of boring and tunnel reinforcement to reduce the cost of the tunnelling operations, in addition to the reduction of tunnel size, re-using soil materials for tunnel construction, and further technological improvements.
According to Tesla, Inc. and SpaceX board member Steve Jurvetson, tunnels specifically built for electric vehicles have reduced size and complexity, and thus decreased cost. “The insight I think that’s so powerful is that if you only envision electric vehicles in your tunnels you don’t need to do the air handling for all carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, you know, basically pollutants for exhaust. You could have scrubbers and a variety of simpler things that make everything collapse to a smaller tunnel size, which dramatically lowers the cost … The whole concept of what you do with tunnels changes.”Mars
Musk also hinted at the possibility that the underground infrastructure technology might be used for his project of creating a self-sustaining human colony on Mars: "I do think getting good at digging tunnels could be really helpful for Mars. For sure there's going to be a lot of ice mining on Mars, and mining in general to get raw materials. You can build a tremendous amount underground with the right boring technology on Mars. So I do think there is some overlap in that technology development arena." "And then, along the way, building underground habitats where you could get radiation shielding… you could build an entire city underground if you wanted to".Active projects
The Boring Company currently has active construction, or approved plans in place, in at least two areas of the United States, on opposite coasts.Los Angeles
A 2-mile (3.2 km) tunnel in Los Angeles, California is currently under construction on a route from Hawthorne along Interstate 405 to Westwood.Baltimore
A 12.4-mile (20.0 km) electric-sled dual-bore tunnel has been permitted in Baltimore, Maryland where construction is slated to begin in early 2018. The initial work would extend from Maryland Route 175 to downtown Baltimore terminating near Camden Yards. Utility permits have been issued to extend a full 35 miles (56 km) from Baltimore to Washington DC, between Penn Station in Baltimore to Washington Union Station.Hats, flamethrowers and fire extinguishers
The company began its consumer sales by offering 50,000 hats and once those sold out in January 2018, it began offering 20,000 flamethrowers for preordering. The Boring Company's flamethrower is a blow torch shaped to look like a gun and it is legal to use in all U.S. states except for Maryland. The sale of the flamethrower has attracted criticism, with politician Miguel Santiago seeking to introduce legislation that would ban sales of the device in California. In just a few days, all 20,000 flamethrowers were sold out, but after customs official said that they would not allow any items called 'flamethrowers', Elon Musk announced on Twitter that he would rename them either "Temperature Enhancement Devices" or "Not a Flamethrower" and that all flamethrowers will ship with a fire extinguisher included. He settled on "Not a Flamethrower" and subsequently updated the Boring Company website where it also states that it is the "world's safest flamethrower". Musk also announced separate sales of the Boring Company Fire Extinguisher, which he described as "overpriced... but this one comes with a cool sticker".See also