Looks like Elon Musk was pretty serious about building that tunnel. The SpaceX and Tesla CEO has shared a video of a small segment that’s been built in Los Angeles, and he says the public will be able to ride it for free in a few months.
Back in December 2016, Musk tweeted that traffic in LA was driving him nuts. “Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging,” he said.
It all seemed like a bit of a joke at the time. But then he set up a company called The Boring Company, showing off pictures of an actual boring machine, and things got a bit more serious.
In April 2017 he showed off a video of how this tunnel might work. Cars would be transported underground in a lift, and then travel along at high speeds on little sledges, beating the traffic up above.
Musk has been having a bit of fun with the company, using it to sell hats and flamethrowers. He also, however, kept saying they were seriously looking at building tunnels underground to transport people and cars.
In a video posted on Instagram, Musk said their first tunnel under LA was almost done. “Pending final regulatory approvals, we will be offering free rides to the public in a few months,” he said. The tunnel at the moment is pretty short, with some suggestions it won’t be big enough to fit a Tesla as originally planned. Still, it’s pretty cool.
“As mentioned in prior posts, once fully operational (demo system rides will be free), the system will always give priority to pods for pedestrians & cyclists for less than the cost of a bus ticket,” he added.
It looks like the tunnel has evolved a bit from Musk’s original design, and it’s now going to be used for Hyperloop. That, of course, was Musk’s idea in 2013 to build vacuum-sucked tunnels to transport people at extremely high speeds.
On Twitter Musk said they were already starting a route from Washington DC to New York, and one from Los Angeles to San Francisco would begin next year. “That will be true Hyperloop with pressurized pods in near vacuum tunnels and faster than a jetliner,” he said.
Musk originally said he was “too busy” to develop Hyperloop himself, but was simply putting the idea in the public domain. Now it looks like he’s in the game, which might not be music to the ears of other Hyperloop companies that sprung up to work on it.
Still, it looks like things are progressing faster than expected. Is Musk actually going to make Hyperloop a reality? Don’t put it past him.