Elon Musk tweeted this week that he hopes to open a fully operational commercial tunnel with the Boring Company in Las Vegas next year. The underground channel would be the first win for one of Musk’s lesser-known projects. The Boring Company now has several early-stage projects across the country, including a high-speed system in Chicago and one in Baltimore.
The Boring Company was born out of a half-joke that Musk made back in December 2016. Musk was frustrated while sitting in traffic in Los Angeles and tweeted, “Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging.” He decided to follow through on his light-bulb moment.
Contrary to its name, The Boring Company aims to revolutionize the way we travel. Musk believes that the Loop and Hyperloop transportation systems will enable people to commute via high-speed “pods.” These pods will bypass traffic and reduce congestion above ground.
The Las Vegas Tunnel
Before moving on to other projects, Musk wants to open the Las Vegas system for commercial use. When completed, Las Vegas will have two mile-long tunnels that stretch from the Las Vegas Convention Center to the Strip. Autonomous pods will carry passengers at 155 mph between the two stations.
Although a visionary, Musk has a history of overpromising. Several Twitter users pointed out that the Boring Company has already missed several timelines that Musk has put forth. In March, he teased that the Las Vegas tunnel could be operational by the end of the year. Digging didn’t begin until November, six months after the CEO said his team would break ground.
The Boring Company finished a tunnel in California last year to test the Loop and Hyperloop concepts. Musk sent a Tesla Model X through the tunnel at 35 miles per hour, boasting that high-speed transport will eventually reach 600 miles per hour if all goes according to plan.
Outside of Las Vegas, The Boring Company has proposed a Dugout Loop that will transport baseball fans to Dodger Stadium from three different neighborhoods. The East Coast Loop would connect Washington D.C. and Baltimore. The Chicago Express Loop will enable travelers to get from O’Hare airport to downtown Chicago (under contract review). Outside of the Las Vegas loop, all projects are currently undergoing environmental review and permitting.
The Musk Empire
The Boring Company is only one of Musk’s other businesses outside of Tesla and SpaceX. Since founding and selling Zip2 and X.com in the late 90s / early 2000s, the forward-thinking mogul has built an empire of disruption.
In 2016, Musk founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology company that develops brain-machine interfaces. Over the long term, Neuralink is working on Neural Lace technology, which could eventually link our minds directly to computers. Through the nonprofit organization, OpenAI, Musk has created a team to research safe applications for artificial intelligence.
Across his endeavors, Musk has a lot of influence over the future of our world. For better or for worse, he is redefining what it means to push boundaries. And if he wants to reduce traffic, we’re all for it.