Boring Company's First Tunnel Opens

AlphaAtlas

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Late last night, Elon Musk's Boring Company opened their first tunnel, and offered demonstrations to the press. The 1.14-mile-long runs under Hawthorne, California, with one end in a SpaceX parking lot and the other in a local neighborhood. Press members were given rides through the tunnel in a Tesla Model X, featuring "guide wheels" attached to the EV's front wheels and a speed limit of about 50mph.

Check out a video of the test tunnel here.

"If driver passes out or goes crazy those tracking wheels ensure the car stays on track," said Musk. While the Boring Co.'s first tunnel may be complete, it is far from being finished. The surfaces are bumpy and have yet to be smoothed out. As a result, the demonstration ride, for now, is rough and passengers in the Model X definitely feel the alignment wheels bumping into the track walls to keep the SUV on course. Musk has talked repeatedly of boring a series of high-speed loop tunnels in major cities to ease congestion.
 

Rahh

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Seems pretty Boring! How long before they spruce up the tunnel walls with advertisements and "art". lol!
 

mord

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And the point is? Publicity? I thought these were going to be train like. Train cars for pedestrians and train cars to move regular cars.

Not road tunnels.
 

PantherBlitz

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And the point is? Publicity? I thought these were going to be train like. Train cars for pedestrians and train cars to move regular cars.

Not road tunnels.
That's what I thought too. Id love to see the business model that shows how tunnels for road cars is profitable.
 

Lakados

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That's what I thought too. Id love to see the business model that shows how tunnels for road cars is profitable.
I think this is more a proof of concept than anything resembling a final product, build small get a lot of data then refine, rinse and repeat. At this stage they don't likely have enough to go on to build the shuttle pods they originally talked about, if they did start now the design would likely change so often and frequently that they would be stuck waiting for the new pod to be built more than not.

still 10 mil for 1.14 miles isn't a bad cost, a traditional road is around 6 mil for the same distance and that doesn't include added costs for conduit if they wanted to provide pathways for data/telecom services. If they can find a way to get the speeds up and the costs down to say 8 mil per mile they would really have something.
 

oROEchimaru

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It is pretty cool. THe gizmodo article is journalism trash. He went and did it, things will get better over time (higher tech vehicles, faster speeds for longer tunnels, longer tunnels, ads/art/graffiti). I am just glad he does stuff rather than just be a reddit hero.
 

Galvin

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They can't have the car going under their own power thru the tunnels. If a car breaks down the whole system fails as a concept
 

Bigbacon

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They can't have the car going under their own power thru the tunnels. If a car breaks down the whole system fails as a concept
what if breaks down at the end when it has to be under its own power again?
 

PantherBlitz

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I think this is more a proof of concept than anything resembling a final product, build small get a lot of data then refine, rinse and repeat. At this stage they don't likely have enough to go on to build the shuttle pods they originally talked about, if they did start now the design would likely change so often and frequently that they would be stuck waiting for the new pod to be built more than not.
still 10 mil for 1.14 miles isn't a bad cost, a traditional road is around 6 mil for the same distance and that doesn't include added costs for conduit if they wanted to provide pathways for data/telecom services. If they can find a way to get the speeds up and the costs down to say 8 mil per mile they would really have something.
But what are they proofing exactly? The boring excavation machines, tunnel ventilation, water pumping, and so forth?
The cost of ongoing tunnel maintenance has to be a good bit more than standard roadways and tunnels.
 

Lakados

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But what are they proofing exactly? The boring excavation machines, tunnel ventilation, water pumping, and so forth?
The cost of ongoing tunnel maintenance has to be a good bit more than standard roadways and tunnels.
Depends, potholes are surprisingly expensive to repair, so is the clearing of snow, maintenance and installation of water drainage (still needed here but to a much smaller degree), painting. It all adds up. As for what they are proofing is basically everything.
I think long term they are looking to find a cost efficient way of putting a passenger train system in the US. The current cost estimates for upgrading the rail system along the east coast are in the hundreds of billions and doesn’t really add capacity so while passenger trains would be faster they would still be delayed for the slower cargo trains that are given priority. If they can get a solid proposal in place with a proof of concept for 2025 they have a strong chance of getting a bid in that would be worth consideration.
And if the California high speed rail project is any indicator those current estimates for the upgrades are painfully short.
 
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rhexis

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i just dont see the practicality of this. at most you can transport 5 people at a time in a single line. the 405 has like 7 lanes.
 

NoOther

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And the point is? Publicity? I thought these were going to be train like. Train cars for pedestrians and train cars to move regular cars.

Not road tunnels.
The first step was to prove they could build the tunnels. The next step is to streamline it so they can build the tunnels uniformly and cheaply (current tunnel is a bit bumpy). They may design something to travel through the tunnels, but that wasn't the end plan. The end plan is that the city determines the delivery system for passengers. This particular test tunnel Musk wanted to be able to just drive without having to deal with traffic. In the future he might design something else for it though.

If you think about it this way, you can't determine the best delivery vehicle, until you know the finished state of the tunnel for it. Also, not all tunnels may be equal.
 

FearTheCow

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The first step was to prove they could build the tunnels. The next step is to streamline it so they can build the tunnels uniformly and cheaply (current tunnel is a bit bumpy). They may design something to travel through the tunnels, but that wasn't the end plan. The end plan is that the city determines the delivery system for passengers. This particular test tunnel Musk wanted to be able to just drive without having to deal with traffic. In the future he might design something else for it though.

If you think about it this way, you can't determine the best delivery vehicle, until you know the finished state of the tunnel for it. Also, not all tunnels may be equal.
Pretty sure there are more than enough tunnels humanity have built at this point for them to not fuck up something like not having a bumpy ride.
 

mkgps3

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The main plan for this style of tunnel is more of an Express way. Think like driving to someplace but the freeway goes through a large city (LA, San Deigo, San Francisco, etc) and you don't want to stop because you are just passing through to get to your location on the other side. You have to deal with the local traffic and people getting on off the freeway. These would be great and let you skip the local traffic and save time.
 

steakman1971

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How long is it going to take to load cars into the tunnel? Seems like that could be a major bottle neck.
 
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I realize the concept and technology have to start somewhere but holy crap that is ghetto as fuck.
 

lcpiper

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I think this is more a proof of concept than anything resembling a final product, build small get a lot of data then refine, rinse and repeat. At this stage they don't likely have enough to go on to build the shuttle pods they originally talked about, if they did start now the design would likely change so often and frequently that they would be stuck waiting for the new pod to be built more than not.

still 10 mil for 1.14 miles isn't a bad cost, a traditional road is around 6 mil for the same distance and that doesn't include added costs for conduit if they wanted to provide pathways for data/telecom services. If they can find a way to get the speeds up and the costs down to say 8 mil per mile they would really have something.

Not to mention that it's not really the tunnel itself that's a big deal, it's his Boring Machines. According to this article, mas transit tunnels run from $100 million to $1 Billion a mile, $10 million is a fraction and that means his real deal might be selling boring machines to companies who are constructing mass transit systems outside of the pod tunnels transit systems Elon wants to see realized.

If someone thinks theirs no money in this they are not up on these numbers and what they mean to the industry here and abroad. The numbers I quoted above weren't for the US, they were averaged from Europe and Japan both of whom are far cheaper than US projects.

His machines will have world wide appeal if he can scale them up a bit.
 

Lakados

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Not to mention that it's not really the tunnel itself that's a big deal, it's his Boring Machines. According to this article, mas transit tunnels run from $100 million to $1 Billion a mile, $10 million is a fraction and that means his real deal might be selling boring machines to companies who are constructing mass transit systems outside of the pod tunnels transit systems Elon wants to see realized.

If someone thinks theirs no money in this they are not up on these numbers and what they mean to the industry here and abroad. The numbers I quoted above weren't for the US, they were averaged from Europe and Japan both of whom are far cheaper than US projects.

His machines will have world wide appeal if he can scale them up a bit.
Especially in China & India where they are looking VERY large mass transit projects in the coming future.
 

SLee

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Not to mention that it's not really the tunnel itself that's a big deal, it's his Boring Machines.
The TBM is second-hand and small:

https://www.autoblog.com/2017/08/03/elon-musk-boring-company-tunnel-machine/

Seattle's Big Bertha is over 4X the diameter.

According to this article, mas transit tunnels run from $100 million to $1 Billion a mile, $10 million is a fraction and that means his real deal might be selling boring machines to companies who are constructing mass transit systems outside of the pod tunnels transit systems Elon wants to see realized.
Those tunnels are much bigger, meant to carry two rail lines and finished to a far higher safety and performance standard (necessary when hundreds of thousands of people are traveling through them every day) and include the cost of large underground stations.
 

BloodyIron

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It's a starting point obviously. I'm sure this successful demonstration will lead to the next thing, in similar vein to Tesla vehicle model releases.

And the point is? Publicity? I thought these were going to be train like. Train cars for pedestrians and train cars to move regular cars.

Not road tunnels.
 

mord

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It's a starting point obviously. I'm sure this successful demonstration will lead to the next thing, in similar vein to Tesla vehicle model releases.
Yeah. In california having the media on your side helps sway the all important public opinion which the boring company has had some trouble with.
 

NoOther

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Pretty sure there are more than enough tunnels humanity have built at this point for them to not fuck up something like not having a bumpy ride.
Not really if you want to do it quickly and cheaply. The point of the project remember is to do this quicker and more efficiently than traditional tunnels and save money. Most of the time when you try something new, you have hiccups. There were some extenuating circumstances that caused the tunnel to come out a little bumpy in areas, which Musk addressed. He also stated that those would be fixed before the actual opening.
 

katanaD

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lots of issues with it i see so far.

i think i heard it that this is only for electric cars that can self navigate.

people individually controlling themselves through this?? LOL um no
 
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Not to mention that it's not really the tunnel itself that's a big deal, it's his Boring Machines. According to this article, mas transit tunnels run from $100 million to $1 Billion a mile, $10 million is a fraction and that means his real deal might be selling boring machines to companies who are constructing mass transit systems outside of the pod tunnels transit systems Elon wants to see realized.

If someone thinks theirs no money in this they are not up on these numbers and what they mean to the industry here and abroad. The numbers I quoted above weren't for the US, they were averaged from Europe and Japan both of whom are far cheaper than US projects.

His machines will have world wide appeal if he can scale them up a bit.
lol
 

lcpiper

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The TBM is second-hand and small:

https://www.autoblog.com/2017/08/03/elon-musk-boring-company-tunnel-machine/

Seattle's Big Bertha is over 4X the diameter.


Those tunnels are much bigger, meant to carry two rail lines and finished to a far higher safety and performance standard (necessary when hundreds of thousands of people are traveling through them every day) and include the cost of large underground stations.
This says there are at least three, or at least two with a new one being built. That the first is a conventional machine as you say, but the second has been modified and is much faster, the third is supposed to be much faster still and will be a completely new design by The Boring Company.

Come on, if there were no difference in the machine, then how in hell could he build the tunnel at less than 10% of the cost per mile of countries that typically build much cheaper than the US does?
 

lcpiper

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By making a really tiny and shoddy tunnel in an area that didn't have any significant utility or building issues.

Are you saying this is the truth of it, or this is just a possible answer that maybe fits the question?

I'm not a tunneling expert, don't mind admitting it. Others do sound like they know more than I do about it. I can see that what you are saying looks like it could account for a large amount of costs, but without something concrete, I remain skeptical about challenging this reporting.
 
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Are you saying this is the truth of it, or this is just a possible answer that maybe fits the question?

I'm not a tunneling expert, don't mind admitting it. Others do sound like they know more than I do about it. I can see that what you are saying looks like it could account for a large amount of costs, but without something concrete, I remain skeptical about challenging this reporting.
It's certainly at least part of the truth of it. I mean, even driving a car down Elon's tunnel is a bumpy ride, that wouldn't work too hot for a train. Elon bored a hole and (shittily) poured some concrete and what hes got now is not suitable for ANY sort of real world use so comparing it to the cost of driving a mile of London Underground is a hell of a lot worse than comparing apples to oranges.
 

lcpiper

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It's certainly at least part of the truth of it. I mean, even driving a car down Elon's tunnel is a bumpy ride, that wouldn't work too hot for a train. Elon bored a hole and (shittily) poured some concrete and what hes got now is not suitable for ANY sort of real world use so comparing it to the cost of driving a mile of London Underground is a hell of a lot worse than comparing apples to oranges.

Of course, even London underground tunnels might be pretty rough if you haven't laid and bedded the rails. But you have made me take not that standard accepted builds for mass transit tunnels include a bedding for the rail systems which Elon's tunnel doesn't seem to have in any appropriate way. That is a big part of the construction, you have to move all the dug earth material out, then move all the bedding materials back down the tunnel. Now figuring out a way to make that part of the construction go cheaper and faster would be ground breaking.
 
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