The driving shield Ilona Mask arrived at the pit in the SpaceX parking lot
The company Ilona Mask on laying underground transport tunnels is approaching the realization of its plans. On April 27, 2017, a SpaceX employee posted a photo on Instagram describing “Another boring day at work.” The picture shows a part of the tunnel shield with the logo of The Boring Company (the post has already been removed).
The Executive Director of SpaceX and Tesla companies first put forward the idea of laying a tunnel in the suburbs of Los Angeles on December 17, 2016 , when he was stuck in a traffic jam. “Traffic drives me crazy. I'm going to make a tunneling machine and just start digging. ”
It is known that Ilon does not always speak seriously. Sometimes he jokes, sometimes he jokes. For example, during one of the interviews in 2015, he half seriously said that nuclear bombs had to be blown up on Mars, and last year he joked that he was developing the Iron Man flying suit for the Pentagon (Ilona Mask himself is often compared to the brilliant inventor Tony Stark, which Ilon Musk looks like even externally, at least in the film version of “Iron Man”).
But the cork tweet wasn't a joke. Mask spoke seriously. An hour later, the project already had a name, and two hours later Ilon published a new tweet, where he confirmed that he was really going to carry out his plan.
He later developed his ideaand suggested paving "up to 30 levels of tunnels for cars and high-speed trains, such as Hyperloop."
Ilon Musk registered the domain BoringCompany.com and persuaded to lead the project Steve Davis (Steve Davis) - the lead engineer of SpaceX.
In February 2017, Ilon Musk began digging into the first "demonstration tunnel" in the SpaceX parking lot. Employees' cars can be parked there, and the tunnel itself can form the basis of a future underground transportation network. First, they dug a hole about 4.5 meters deep and over 15 meters wide.
Parking SpaceX is located near Los Angeles International Airport. Photo: Ewan Telford for Bloomberg Businessweek.
Now, a part of the tunnel shield was brought up to the pit. Here are some photos taken by passersby and staff.
Probably, digging a tunnel will be at a depth of about 15 meters to ensure that you avoid meeting with the gas pipeline and water supply. At the moment it is not clear in which direction Ilon Musk is going to dig a tunnel from the parking lot if the authorities give permission for this.
Photo: Ewan Telford for Bloomberg Businessweek
On the territory of SpaceX, the owner can dig as many tunnels without permission, but for the construction of underground tunnels on municipal property, including in the suburbs of Los Angeles, is required to obtain permission from the authorities. This permission will be required if the tunnel is to be extended beyond corporate parking.
You may ask: who will notice if the tunnel shield goes deep into foreign territory? Indeed, no one will notice, but after all the tunnel will need to come to the surface in some place, and this cannot be done without the permission of the authorities, unless the exit point is at another site Ilona Mask.
SpaceX parking is located at the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and West 120th Street. On satellite maps, its location can be seen here .
As you can see, there really is quite cramped. On the Rocket Street (Rocket Rd) there is almost no parking space, and on the other hand, Tesla Supercharger electric supermarketing doesn’t fit too many cars. Additional underground space does not hurt.
Of course, the idea of tunnels did not arise from scratch. Musk says he has been thinking about tunnels for many years, including in connection with the future launch of Hyperloop bullet trains that move through tunnels. It is likely that laying routes in highlands will require laying new tunnels in the mountains for Hyperloop. Yes, and in urban areas this transport can be more convenient to move under the ground, and not on the monorail. But it was precisely the traffic jam near Los Angeles that became the final straw that overflowed the millionaire innovator’s patience.
Experts believe that the initiative of Ilona Mask to create a new transport infrastructure can find support in the administration of the new president, who in his inaugural speech promised "new roads and highways, bridges, airports, and railways throughout the territory of our wonderful country." Mask later stated that negative interest rates around the world are a great opportunity for restructuring the infrastructure and a powerful rise in the industry.
Building infrastructure - this is where the interests of Donald Trump and Ilona Mask meet.
Judging by the driving shield that arrived, Ilon Mask has quite serious intentions, although The Boring Company does not yet have full-time employees or a business plan, but Ilon is a member of the Presidential Forum on Strategy and Policy Forum and may well claim for some government orders in the future.
Surely Ilon Musk will give engineers the task to reduce the cost of tunneling shields as much as possible and increase the speed of laying tunnels so that it becomes a truly profitable business. In fact, the speed of laying tunnels has not increased significantly over the past 50 years. There is something to work on.
The Herrenknecht tunnel shield, shown in the last photo, was considered by Ilon Mask for purchase in February. This car with a diameter of 8 m and a length of 121 m and a weight of 1200 tons was used to lay a tunnel 3 km long near Washington . Musk believes that he can increase the speed of this tunneling shield by 5-10 times.