It looks like Elon Musk isn’t just out to revolutionize the auto industry — he’s taking on public transportation, too!
Earlier this year, Musk said that his The Boring Company would compete to design and build a hyperloop transportation system between Chicago and the city of Detroit.
What is a hyperloop?
What does Elon Musk say about the hyperloop? According to him, it’s the fifth mode of transportation that will be faster than planes, trains, automobiles and boats. You should be able to get from downtown LA to downtown San Francisco in under 30 minutes, he said. In order for it to come true, he has his new tunnel boring company The Boring Company make these tubes. What does The Boring Company do? Unlike his other companies Tesla and SpaceX, The Boring Company is an infrastructure and tunnelling company. While Tesla is currently trying to build electric cars and SpaceX is building space rockets, The Boring Company is looking into ways of tunnelling underground without a drill.
So far The Boring Company has been building tunnels for its Loop system. This system is similar to a subway, but instead of trains, it has cars that operate on platforms called skates. The company plans to transport pedestrians and cyclists at 125-150 km/h (77-93 mph), and also cars at 250 km/h (155 mph). Cars would be lowered into tunnels by elevators in what is known as a skate transit system. Vehicles are then moved by electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube. Since there is no air resistance inside, the hyperloop can achieve very high speeds in a vacuum environment.
Is The Boring Company making hyperloop? Not yet. First, they have to finish building their Loop system. The company has already built a 2.7 km (1.7 mi) tunnel in Hawthorne, California and is currently working on a longer one in the LA area. They also plan to build tunnels under Chicago and Washington DC in order to transport people from downtown to O’Hare airport and from downtown DC to New York City, respectively.
How will a hyperloop work?
What does Elon Musk say about the hyperloop? What does The Boring Company do? Is The Boring Company making hyperloop? The answer to all of these questions is, no, so let’s back up for a minute. In case you’re not familiar with them, hyperloops are basically high-speed underground tubes that contain some sort of transportation systems like a train or pod car. They work by reducing air pressure inside of them, which allows trains to move at extremely high speeds. This air cushioning means that energy consumption is very low since most of it would be spent pushing against air, not rails or roads.
This week, The Boring Company gave a quick update about its progress in digging tunnels with its tunnel boring machine (TBM) and its hyperloop plans. These TBMs are massive drilling machines that burrow through soil or rock using a spinning cutter head and conveyor belt. Once complete, these tunnels will be used to store electric vehicles from Tesla until they’re needed, such as when you request an individual vehicle through an app on your phone. The company hopes to transport vehicles at 125 mph (200 km/h), which would significantly reduce traffic congestion across major cities around the world by reducing trips from an hour down to minutes.
Where will it go?
Currently, two proposed routes exist for The Boring Company’s hyperloop: one between Washington, D.C., and New York City and another from Los Angeles to San Francisco. According to reports, it could take less than 30 minutes to travel between these cities at speeds of about 760 mph (1,220 km/h). Based on these proposed routes alone, an estimated 10 million people would be able to use these hyperloops each year. In fact, if you were travelling from any of those cities and put your destination into the Google Maps search bar, you’d see a hyperloop option appear as a suggested route option alongside highways and regular trains.
But what is a hyperloop exactly? In 2013, Elon Musk first shared his vision for a high-speed transportation system called the fifth mode of transportation that would transport people in pressurized capsules called pods through vacuum-sealed tubes at speeds up to 760 mph (1,220 km/h). The goal was to make travel times between cities more manageable. Since then, it’s come under development with several companies vying to become involved in its creation. But what sets The Boring Company apart from competitors like Virgin Hyperloop One and HTT is that it has already completed an important step in making such a system a reality: constructing a test track.
In 2016, it started digging a test tunnel beneath SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California. It wasn’t until December 2017 that work on its first mile-long (1.6 km) tunnel was finished, but it may only be a test tunnel for now. That said, earlier in February 2018, The Boring Company completed an elevator shaft at its Hawthorne location to start its excavation process underground. The company also has plans to build a much longer hyperloop track through Maryland which would stretch over 35 miles (56 km) from Washington D.C. to Baltimore and another one between Washington D.C., New York City and Philadelphia.
How do I get involved?
I do think, in time, we will be able to travel between LA and San Francisco in less than 30 minutes. That’s something that I think is quite significant. What would you rather be doing? If you can get a window seat on a plane or your own private space in a cabin inside of a Hyperloop with your friends and family. Which one would you choose? — Elon Musk
On December 16, 2017, Elon Musk announced on Twitter that The Boring Company had gotten verbal government approval to build a tunnel from New York City to Washington DC. It was later announced that state and local approvals were still pending. In May 2018, it was announced that Maryland officials were issuing preliminary permits for an underground transportation tunnel between Baltimore and Washington DC in an attempt to quickly advance a project while avoiding time-consuming environmental reviews. On June 18th 2018, Elon Musk announced via Twitter that he had received verbal [government] approval to begin construction of a new NY-Phil-Balt-DC Loop with hyperloop capabilities.
Is The Boring Company Building A Hyperloop?
According to a tweet from Elon Musk, Tesla’s boring company is building a one-mile hyperloop track in Los Angeles. The announcement came during an event for The Boring Company, which is developing technology that would use underground tunnels to facilitate the transportation of people and vehicles on high-speed sledges. On Sunday, Musk posted a video of what appears to be a test run on his Instagram feed: First tunnel for The Boring Company begins … Full length of the first tunnel will run from LAX to Culver City, Santa Monica, Westwood and Sherman Oaks.
Still, a lot of work is needed to receive formal approval, but am optimistic that will occur rapidly, Musk said in his tweet. This is a test tunnel, should be about two miles long when complete. The Boring Company declined further comment on its Los Angeles project beyond Musk’s tweets. When reached by email, Kate Niederer from Culver City public affairs said they were not able to confirm that The Boring Company was building a hyperloop test track in Culver City as reported by others. However, Culver City Council member Meghan Sahli-Wells did tell Fortune that she was excited about what would happen with The Boring Co.
In October 2017, Musk launched The Boring Company, a venture whose goal is to build new ways of getting around using underground tunnels. The tunnel in LA would be used for autonomous electric vehicles and on rails for low-speed zero-emission shuttles, for people and cars. It would also be used by bikes & pedestrians. Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…
Elon Musk is one of those rare entrepreneurs who not only dream big but actually makes big ideas happen. It started with PayPal and then Tesla; two revolutionary startups that changed how we pay for things and how we get around. Now, his latest venture could disrupt transportation even further: The Boring Company has received approval to build a hyperloop between New York City and Washington D.C.
The hyperloop, first envisioned by Elon in a white paper, could travel at speeds exceeding 750 mph and make travel times between New York City and Washington D.C. less than 30 minutes. It’s an ambitious project that has had critics naysaying all along—but if anyone can get it done, it’s Elon Musk. The man has shown himself to be one of those rare thinkers who are able to take big ideas and actually make them happen. With his track record of success in making Tesla mainstream and successful, no doubt many will be waiting with bated breath for him to succeed once again…and perhaps put more mundane forms of transportation out of business for good!
With his big ideas and ability to follow through, there’s no doubt that Elon Musk is a man who deserves to be called an entrepreneur. His latest venture has captured everyone’s imagination, but let’s not forget what it took for him to get where he is today. Early on in his career, he knew that true success was going to require persistence and hard work. As a teenager working 80 hours a week, he had little time for socialising or goofing off and instead worked tirelessly on launching his idea for PayPal. When all others doubted him, he never lost sight of his goal: and look at him now—the CEO of two successful companies building revolutionary products left and right.