SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk plans to launch The Boring Company in China. It promotes the futuristic urban transport concept of autonomous vehicles whizzing along tunnels at up to 150mph.
With characteristic unconventionality, Musk revealed the plan on Twitter on Saturday, 3 August in response to a tweet announcing his attendance at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai at the end of this month.
"Will also be launching The Boring Company China on this trip", he wrote, prompting hundreds of excited responses.
Asked by a respondent if The Boring Company would build underwater tunnels, the space-travel and electric-vehicle entrepreneur replied "Yes", but offered no more details.
Musk founded The Boring Company in December 2016, believing he can cut the cost of tunnelling down to a tenth of what it is now, which he has said is about a billion dollars a mile, while dramatically speeding up tunnel construction.
His idea is to make tunnels narrower – 14 feet in diameter rather than the standard 28 feet – and by rethinking the traditional tunnel boring machine to make it faster and able to run continuously. (Read more about this vision here.) https://www.boringcompany.com/faq/
Cheaper, faster tunnelling would be necessary for his dream of the traffic-busting "Loop" system of urban transport, in which pods carrying people and vehicles whiz through underground tunnels.
The Boring Company has yet to build a commercially operable tunnel. In December 2018 it completed a $10m, 1.14-mile test tunnel, complete with a car-lift, starting at its offices in Hawthorne, California.
- See the test tunnel in action here:
Last June the company was selected by the city of Chicago to finance, build and operate a new high-speed transit link to the city’s O’Hare International Airport.
And in May this year the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) awarded the company a $48.7m contract to design and build a people mover for the Las Vegas Convention Centre.Â Â
Separately, Musk’s company Tesla, Inc. is nearing completion on a $5bn electric-vehicle factory in Shanghai, the company’s first production facility outside the US. Last month city officials said it would begin production by the end of this year.
Image: The Boring Company’s test tunnel in Hawthorne, California (The Boring Company)