The Boring Company: The next big breakthrough in Transportation?
So for those who aren’t already familiar with this “boring” venture of Elon Musk, allow us to explain it to you. Once again, ‘the real-life Tony Stark’ has stunned the tech world with his new pet project. To begin with, the ‘boring’ in the name literally holds the meaning of ‘digging of holes’ and not the boring as in ‘being dull’.
How exactly did The Boring Company come about?
This project actually started as a series of tweets that Elon Musk had tweeted way back in 2016. Apparently, the SpaceX founder was fed up with all the heavy traffic in Los Angeles and like the innovative problem solver he is, he wanted to come up with a solution that will make urban city transport easier. When this idea was put out to the world, people just assumed it was one of his usual jokes, but it soon became evident that this company is very much real and seems to be a game-changer for smart city transport.
The Boring Company ironically has very interesting goals that it is trying to achieve. It is working to build a multi-level tunnel-like infrastructure that will enable safe, quick and comfortable transportation, and this also includes the Loop and Hyperloop.
What does the Boring company do?
Simply put, the company builds tunnels that will take electric vehicles from one place to another. The whole thing first began as a hole in the parking lot of SpaceX and is now trying to make its way to major cities like Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and more. So in order to build an extensive network of tunnels, Musk aims to increase the tunneling speed and reduce the tunneling costs. In an attempt to find efficient solutions, the entrepreneur set up a competition called “Not-a-Boring Competition”. Scientists, companies and students around the world tried to design and build their own tunneling solutions and out of 400 entries, 12 (the Digging Dozen) finalists were announced this year.
For better productivity, the company also came up with its own machine and first introduced the ‘Line Storm’, an updated version of the conventional boring machine that can work twice as fast. Lately, they unveiled the new tunnel boring machine (TBM) called ‘Prufrock’ in Las Vegas. This works at a 10x speed which is almost 1 mile per week, but it’s interesting to note that this speed is still 4–5 times slower than a garden snail! In April 2021, it was announced that the underground construction company completed its first commercial project at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It is a $52.5 million loop transit system that is 40 feet below the ground and uses chauffeured Tesla vehicles to transport visitors around the center.
How is the company funded?
Since Elon Musk wants the system to be accessible to everyone, the company charges as little as a dollar for those who wish to use their services. So to accomplish this, the company set up multiple fundraisers. They began offering promotional merchandise, which included 50,000 hats that were all sold out by January 2018. Next, they came up with “flamethrowers”, which are not actual flamethrowers but just blow torches shaped like guns. Despite criticism from US politicians and journalists, all 20,000 units were sold out in only five days, raising a total of 10 million dollars. Later in April of 2018, the company announced that it had raised $112.5 million, with a 90% of it coming from the company founder Musk himself.
In 2017 Musk had also explained how such a revolutionary tunnel building project would help us colonize Mars one day. Since the surface on Mars is radioactive, we might have to build cities underground to stay safe and how do we do that? The Boring Company. He believes that all the super machines his company is manufacturing may be used in future for digging holes on Mars to obtain ice, minerals and raw materials.
Well, then only time will tell us what is next in store for this tunneling venture. We would appreciate knowing your thoughts on this!
Credits : Javali Murari — Team E-Cell ABV-IIITM Gwalior