HAWTHORNE, Calif. – For Elon Musk's very difficult year there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
In particular, there is a 1.14 kilometer tunnel inventor and beleaguered CEO of Tesla Motors says that it is a first step in solving "soul-destroying" urban traffic. In 2016, Musk – already engaged in running two highly profiled companies – founded a company called Boring Company to cope with the problem by drilling the underground. Some thought it was a joke. Two years of big promise and $ 40 million of Musk's own money later, its innovative machine delivered a functional test tunnel on Tuesday.
What is it like to ride through Elon's tunnel? Bumpy, but it's all part of the tour of a musk company.
I had the chance to zip through in a Tesla Model X at a launch event that was part of the Musk Pep rally and some amusement park. The tunnel, measuring 12 meters in its internal diameter, goes about 40 meters under a road next to the SpaceX headquarters, another Musk venture located in this Los Angeles suburb. It is only big enough to fit a single car, which descends to the tunnel through an elevator.
Our elevator was hidden in the back of what had previously been the Los Vegas Kitchen Cabinet's store, but is now a well Camouflaged Boring building protected by armed guards. After we walked through a port in a platform about the size of two standard parking spaces, the ground fell below us through a circular opening until we met the entrance to the tunnel. Batman would be jealous.
My test Tesla had been modified with an additional set of steering wheels – protrudes like a pair of ears. They aimed at the edges of the tunnel, turning the consumer electric SUV into a kind of rail-controlled train.
When a light on the front of the tunnel became green, the car was turned off as a rollercoaster. The proximity to the tunnel walls seemed to be much faster; White paint and blue lighting along the top of the tunnel made the trip feel more like a music video than Batman's hole.
Tesla, which has autonomous capabilities, made a lot of the driving self-navigating curves and adjusts the speed while locked with these adjustment wheels – but there was still a trained driver behind the wheel.
Despite the automation, the experience was turbulent. The car jostled with a lot of shock in the concrete along the bottom of the tunnel, although our peak speed reached only 49 miles per hour.
In a press release, Musk said at Boring Co. had run out to level out the tunnel of the test tunnel, which led to an uneven trip. (Musk had originally promised to open the test tunnel last week.) When Boring Co has figured out how to effectively smooth the concrete, Musk said that vehicles could go through the tunnel of up to 155 miles per hour.
Adjustment wheel system is a mention of the mechanism Musk had originally said would allow vehicles to travel through their high speed tunnels. He had spy cars inside Boring tunnels would ride on electric skates. But Musk said that the adjustment wheels are cheaper and can be adapted to several types of cars – as long as these cars are electric and have autonomous capabilities.
What does pioneer and rocket launcher of electric car do an expert on drilling? Musk believes that Boring can reduce the cost of tunneling projects while increasing the speed significantly through some relatively simple changes in the way typical typical tuner works. "No Nobel Prizes Needed Here," he said.
Borings tunnel transport, called Loop, hopes to ease traffic because cities want dozens of tunnels on top of each other. Unlike a traditional subway or train system, said Musk Loops main arteries will not make frequent stops. Instead, they would have a number of tributaries that would take people to local destinations with their own elevators to take vehicles up to the street.
The cost of a trip? To be determined, but Musk said he would have to be about $ 1 for a trip in a shared public transport car that zipped through the tunnel, or $ 4 for a private car.
Drilling is working on plans to build a tunnel to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and another connection to downtown Chicago to the Hare Airport. The company also wishes to make a tunnel connecting Washington, D.C. to New York City.
Musk said that the interest of cities and would be investors has been high. But it has not been even to dig: Boring pulled another project under Los Angeles Sepulveda Boulevard after community groups sued the government over plans to exempt the company from an environmental assessment process.