Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla $TSLA, presented the first test tunnel in Los Angeles.
There are two main goals that Boring Company was trying to reach: to reduce traffic in metropolitan areas and to improve the technology of boring tunnels. Thus, they are developing a fully-electric and autonomous transport system that works well inside those tunnels.
Previously, the company had been talking about building “electric skates” which would become a platform for vehicles and would transport them through the tunnel. In addition, they also have been talking about “electric pods” for public transportation. But during the presentation, they both were replaced with autonomous electric vehicles called ‘tracking wheels’. Musk announced that “tracking wheels” will be kept in a final version. They will keep the car from hitting the side of the tunnel. Musk also said the system could be added to a vehicle during the configuration for “$200 to $300” or to be installed as an aftermarket product.
Musk even said, that it is not necessary only for Tesla and could be attached to other vehicles:
“We used Tesla vehicles because I run Tesla. What I am going to do? Use someone else’s car?”
But still, there are a lot of requirements for a vehicle, such as they need to be electric, be able to maintain a speed of ~150 mph, and have some autonomous capabilities, to be allowed to use the Boring Company’s tunnels. Thus, basically, Tesla is only vehicles that so far eligible.
They are still having some issues, for instance, some part of the roads feel bumpier than others. Musk promised that it will be an easy fix and at the final version the road will be “as smooth as glass.”
Another big part of their plan to reduce the cost of boring the tunnel selling LEGO-like bricks made of the dirt dug from the tunnels that would bring an additional kit for structures. Musk gave several examples from ancient Egypt, like the pyramids, Sphinx, and the temple of Horus. Musk claimed that the bricks are more solid than cinderblocks and he suggested that the company could sell them for just 10 cents in order to get rid of the dirt. They also want to offer them for free to build affordable housing. The Boring Company even presented an actual full-size watchtower with brick made of the dirt dug out of the Hawthorne tunnel.
In the long-term, Musk wants the company to deliver giant networks of tunnels with many layers and main “highway” tunnels acting as a loop with several “exits” leading to stations to get back to the surface.