Elon Musk revealed a video on Friday of his latest venture: a sprawling underground network of tunnels beneath the city of Los Angeles.
He created an infrastructure and tunneling firm called The Boring Company to oversee development of his ambitious project.
The idea was first made public in December last year via a tweet in which Musk said he wanted to build a tunnel boring machine and begin digging tunnels.
Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 17, 2016
He then tweeted: “I am actually going to do this.”
“This is basically interns and people doing it part-time,” he said during the TEDTalk. “We bought some secondhand machinery. It’s kind of puttering along but making good progress.”
“We have a pet snail called Gary, and Gary is capable of moving 14 times faster than a tunnel boring machine – so the ambition is to beat Gary,” he said.
The goal of Boring Co. is to modernise the tunneling industry and develop a machine capable of digging ten times faster than current machines.
The Boring Company already has its first piece of physical hardware. An image of a tunnel digging machine with the Boring Co. logo was tweeted my Musk on Friday.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 28, 2017
Musk’s Boring Company starting to come to life in front of #SpaceX. DM us with photos! https://t.co/ZHEKAhZybe pic.twitter.com/vAboz3pm2V
— TESLARATI (@Teslarati) April 28, 2017
In an interview with the BBC, Susan Beardslee, a senior analyst at ABI Research, said the project sounded like a “moonshot”.
“He has shown his ability to be a visionary, and I believe he can take tunnelling and apply the financial capital and technical expertise, but this is not a go-it-alone project.
“He is addressing the need to look at congestion – but it will have to be a public/private partnership,” she said.
“Musk is good at coming up with a very different way of looking at things, and this might work better somewhere where it can be purpose-built rather than retro-fitted.”