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Going underground: Why does Elon Musk want to dig beneath Los Angeles?

Credit: Heisenberg Media
The deepest mines are much deeper than the tallest buildings are tall, so you can alleviate any arbitrary level of urban congestion with a 3D tunnel network
– Elon Musk

Following hot on the heels of electric cars, solar-storing roof tiles, and the super-fast Hyperloop transport system, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has begun work on yet another city-shaping concept: a network of underground of tunnels that will ease congestion in gridlocked cities.

Musk has founded a new firm, drily named The Boring Company, to develop the concept – with the first tunnel network visualised for Los Angeles.

A video has been released demonstrating how the concept would work. It shows a car above ground driving onto a sled that descends underground and into the tunnel network. The sled then connects to a track and is projected through the tunnel at speeds of up to 124 miles per hour. When it reaches its destination, it lifts the car back to ground level.

In a TEDtalk discussion dedicated to the idea, Musk said “there's no real limit to how many levels of tunnel you can have.”

“You can go much further deep than you can go up,” he added. “The deepest mines are much deeper than the tallest buildings are tall, so you can alleviate any arbitrary level of urban congestion with a 3D tunnel network.

“A key rebuttal to the tunnels is that if you add one layer of tunnels, that will simply alleviate congestion, but then will get used up and you'll be back where you started with congestion. But [in reality] you can have any arbitrary number of tunnels and any number of levels.”

Musk said he was supporting the idea because traffic “takes away so much of your life.” He first announced the concept in a tweet last December while stuck in a gridlock.

The Boring Company is working on a prototype tunnel outside of Musk’s SpaceX company headquarters, and he said the firm is making good progress despite it “basically being formed of interns and people doing it part time” using “second-hand machinery.” He said the project was occupying around three per cent of his time.

Like so many of his infrastructure concepts, Musk’s latest idea could have big repercussions for the leisure industry, with tunnels transporting vehicles directly to a city’s hotels, museums, stadiums and cultural attractions.

Elon Musk  Los Angeles  California  US  The Boring Company  design  future  engineering  transport 
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Following hot on the heels of electric cars, solar-storing roof tiles, and the super-fast Hyperloop transport system, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has begun work on yet another city-shaping concept: a network of underground of tunnels that will ease congestion in gridlocked cities. Musk has founded a new firm, drily named The Boring Company, to develop the concept – with the first tunnel network visualised for Los Angeles. A video has
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The sled would then descend underground / The Boring Company
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