Last Friday, Elon Musk sat down with TED’s Head Curator, Chris Anderson, to talk about the future of his many projects at TED2017 in Vancouver. The Boring Company, his latest venture, wants to build an underground network of tunnels to speed up traffic.
The billionaire entrepreneur showed the audience how the system would work in theory with a video that has since been uploaded to the company’s official channel on YouTube, thus confirming its existence. Rumors about the digging firm had been circulating online since last February.
Musk and Anderson talked about Tesla, SolarCity, SpaceX, and Hyperloop throughout their encounter. The CEO took the opportunity to announce the first autonomous Tesla trip from Los Angeles to New York will take place in the last quarter of the year and teased the first images of the Tesla Semi truck.
How would the Boring tunnels system work?
The Boring Company’s concept video shows how the underground system would work in a big city landscape where downtown traffic is unbearable, like the infamous rush hour in Los Angeles.
Elon Musk has said traffic “drives him nuts” in the past, claiming it is “soul-destroying” and ranting about how much precious time we lose stuck one behind the other.
The systems would have multiple underground layers, with tunnels sitting one on top of the other and intersecting at times. Drivers would not transit this underground highway driving their cars, but rather letting the system transport them autonomously.
People would be able to go down into these superfast lanes by driving their cars to platforms sitting on the edge of the road. Once on top of the platform, these would go down like elevators and act like trolleys underground to merge cars seamlessly into high-speed, single-channel traffic toward a particular destination.
Rumors of the company’s existence sprung up online last February in a Bloomberg report, but then a Boring employee uploaded a photo of their first tunnel boring machine on Instagram last Thursday.
Musk said The Boring Company has plans to dig a test tunnel underneath the parking lot of SpaceX’s Hawthorne headquarters in California, the same place in which there is a Hyperloop test track where developers from around the globe have tested their pods.
The executive hinted at the two transportation systems connecting in some way, although both of the projects are not at the top of his priority list. Musk only introduced the idea of a Hyperloop years ago but is not actively involved in its development. The Boring Company is run by interns and took 3% of his time to set up.