Elon Musk Shows First Working Demo of The Boring Company’s Tunnel Under Los Angeles

Tunnel excavation is well underway.

byRob Stumpf|
Elon Musk Shows First Working Demo of The Boring Company’s Tunnel Under Los Angeles

Elon Musk might be a madman, but when he envisions something others see as inconceivable, it often to always make its way to fruition. Such is the case with The Boring Company's task of creating an ultra-fast transport tunnel under the streets of Los Angeles. Earlier today, the Tesla CEO took to Instagram to show off his tunneling company latest achievement: a test in their staging area.

The tunnel boring machine, affectionately named Godot, is officially in use. It has been lowered into place and will soon begin its initial tunnel, which will stretch "several hundred feet" in length. Presumably, this will take between one and three weeks to complete, based on the current speed of the over-sized land drill. Yes, this behemoth is slow, rated at tunneling at less than sixty feet per day.

Let's talk plans. Must's initial loop would consist of five stops: Culver City, Los Angeles International Airport, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, and Westwood. Eventually, all of greater L.A. would be covered by the tubes, but until that time, the initial 40 miles of tunnel would be sufficient. The Boring Company hasn't released any specifics on tunnel length or proposed numbers, but if it's anything like a straight shot (not that it will be) we can make some predictions about the plans. 

For now, Godot will dig its way through the ground at a rate of only 300 feet per week. Musk hopes that with their engineering know-how, The Boring Company can see a breakthrough of one mile per week. Best case scenario, digging at one mile per week, would result in 40 weeks of boring. Worst case, assuming zero advances are made in tunnel boring speed, the process could take up to 13.5 years.

Musk's initial routing would connect the greater Los Angeles area with the sled., via Google Maps

 The sled travels down a long tunnel at full speeds of up to 125 miles per hour (200 kilometers per hour) on a fixed track system. The idea is that a car could board onto the sled and merge with already flowing traffic, then split off to its destination and wait to rejoin the loop. Overall this could cut potentially the 20 minute commute from Westwood to LAX (10.4 miles) down to only five minutes by completely bypassing the inevitable traffic on the 405, something which Musk has reportedly hated for quite some time.

(Be warned: Musk says the video below could cause motion sickness or seizures due to the lighting.)

This is an exciting test—the speed, the tunnel, the potential to remove gobs of traffic in a fast-maturing electric city. Only time will tell if this venture is successful, but bravo for effort. Here's to hoping it works.