Elon Musk’s Boring Company is calling on interested folks to build a tunneling machine that’s quicker and more efficient than current designs.
If there’s enough interest in the idea, the company will organize its “Not-a-Boring Competition” for the spring of 2021, with everyone from businesses and engineers to students and hobbyists invited to get involved.
The Boring Company came into existence in 2016 following Musk’s frustration with the slow Los Angeles traffic. Instead of considering traffic management solutions at street level, the billionaire entrepreneur had the idea to create a tunnel infrastructure capable of offering fast, safe, and comfortable transportation.
Of course, using tunnels to move people around is nothing new, but one of the Boring Company’s ideas is to place passenger vehicles onto electric-powered sleds that would move along at speeds of up to 150 mph. The tunnels could also be used to further Musk’s vision for Hyperloop, an ultra-high-speed transportation system that puts people in passenger pods before hurtling them to their destination.
But as the company recognizes, “To feasibly build a large network of tunnels, one must first rapidly innovate to increase tunneling speed and reduce tunneling costs.” Hence the boring competition.
Teams will compete against each other to bore a 30-meter tunnel with a cross-sectional area of 0.2 square meters. Competition categories will include the fastest completed tunnel, the fastest completed tunnel and driving surface (a remote-controlled Tesla will be driven through the tunnel), and the most accurate guidance system for a boring machine.
The company is asking anyone keen to take part in the Not-a-Boring competition to register their interest via its website.
Faster than a snail
Boring Company engineers are already developing a machine that can tunnel at greater speeds than conventional tunneling equipment in an effort to dramatically cut costs. But it wants your help to go faster. Current boring machines move more slowly than a snail, the Boring Company says on its website, adding, “Our goal is to defeat the snail in a race.”
While it continues to hone its tunneling technology, the company has been busy boring away beneath Las Vegas as it moves toward completion of its first major project. The $48.6 million effort involves the construction of the LVCC Loop, a high-speed subterranean transportation system designed to whisk people around the Las Vegas Convention Center — one of the largest such centers in the world. It’s expected to be up and running by the end of this year, with later expansion to other parts of Vegas also expected.