Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Tech | By Anita Cain

Tesla's Elon Musk Brings High-Tech Charm Offensive to LA Tunnel Plan

Tesla's Elon Musk Brings High-Tech Charm Offensive to LA Tunnel Plan

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk is bringing his technology charm offensive to an attempt at digging a tunnel beneath part of Los Angeles to test designs for a high-speed subterranean transportation network he envisions for the city.

The news was announced during a community meeting for The Boring Company last night which, funnily enough, Musk was late to due to the city's traffic, which he called "the seventh or eighth level" of hell.

Musk made a splash on social media and in the tech world early this year after the sale of $3.5 million worth of flamethrowers went viral.

His firm behind the project - "The Boring Company" - wants to create tunnels that link up with existing subway lines to "complement the system".

Another big stakeholder in the Boring project is Los Angeles's Metropolitan Transportation Agency. The LA Metro company tweeted yesterday that it would be "partners moving forward" with The Boring Company, to which Elon replied that he was excited about the partnership. While the executives were sure to distinguish the difference between the "Loop" and the Hyperloop, Musk also theorized that the two systems could eventually be seamlessly connected so riders could travel within the city and between cities with minimal friction. After unveiling the idea of using capsules to ferry people or things in 2012, Musk let other startups take it further by making the IP open source.

But two neighborhood advocacy groups have filed suit to block the excavation, arguing the project is really intended as the first segment for a much larger tunnel system planned by Musk. A city council committee granted the Boring Company an exemption to a state environmental review - a review that can be a very long process.

SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, previously mused about the plan at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide past year.

A map shows the proposed route for a 2.7-mile prototype tunnel. This would be the type of tunnels built to transport the masses.

Musk said if the tunneling could move at one-tenth of walking speed, a mile could be completed every three hours.

"It's one [solution for LA traffic] we think could work and is worth trying", he said.

Musk launched his foray into public transit after complaining on Twitter in December 2016 that clogged traffic was "driving me nuts", vowing to "build a boring machine and just start digging".

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