Musk’s Boring Company unveils its first high-speed, Tesla-launching tunnel

Almost exactly two years to the day after Elon Musk announced his tunnel construction enterprise the Boring Company, he unveiled the finished first stretch of high-speed tunnel in Hawthorne, California. The 1.14-mile demonstration tunnel, which reportedly cost around $10 million to construct, was used to ferry members of the media at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour in a Tesla Model X SUV, modified to fit onto a special track. The demonstration took place Tuesday night, December 18.

In the future, Musk has said that he hopes it will be possible to transport people at a hair-raising 150 miles per hour. The track should also be able to support ordinary electric road cars belonging to users, so long as they have undergone a slight modification.

Speaking as part of the Tuesday night presentation, Musk said that he hopes the Boring Company’s tunnels could represent an “actual solution to the soul-crushing burden of traffic.”

Musk first described his ambitions for the Boring Company back in December 2016, after which the company started initial work on what would become the Hawthorne tunnel in February the following year. The excavation work took place on the premises of SpaceX’s offices in Hawthorne. Musk has described the Boring Company as more of a personal hobby than a major expenditure of his time, such as SpaceX or Tesla.

Going forward, the hope is that the Boring Company’s demonstration tunnel will serve as a showcase for how similar high speed tunnels could become part of city infrastructure to make transportation speedier. A deal was signed with the City of Chicago in 2016 to build a tunnel between the city’s business district and O’Hare Airport, around 17 miles away. However, assorted regulatory hurdles have meant this project has not received the official sign-off. The idea of a fast transit tunnel between Dodger Stadium and a transit hub in Los Angeles has also been mooted.

This isn’t Musk’s only project exploring ultra-fast transportation, either. In September 2017, Musk described yet another project that would involve using SpaceX’s rockets for astonishingly speedy city-to-city transportation. Should all go to plan, Musk’s ultimate ambition is to make it possible to travel anywhere on the planet in less than an hour.

Whatever else you can say about Elon Musk, clearly the dude really, really hates being stuck in traffic.

Smart Home

Google has tips for making your smart home more eco-friendly

Google is announcing new integrations for Google Assistant with energy and water-saving devices for Earth Day. The company is also offering tips on how to cut down on your energy bill.
Cars

Toyota leads $1 billion investment in Uber’s self-driving tech division

In a move that has been a long time coming, Uber filed its S-1 documents, which sets the stage for the company to finally go public with an initial public offering. The company could be valued at more than $100 billion.
Cars

More tech and more space make the Mercedes-Benz GLS the S-Class of the SUV world

Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation GLS at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The company's biggest and most luxurious SUV gains more tech features in its quest to become the S-Class of the SUV world.
Mobile

The Department of Justice may prevent the T-Mobile-Sprint merger

T-Mobile and Sprint are getting closer to merging. After a few failed attempts, the two companies announced their merger at the start of 2018. The new T-Mobile could be better positioned to take on the likes of Verizon and AT&T.
Emerging Tech

Beresheet crash caused by manual command, but reflector device may have survived

Details are emerging about what may have gone wrong with spacecraft Beresheet's failed moon landing. A manual command was entered which led to a chain reaction. But NASA still hopes to salvage use of its Laser Retroreflector Array device.
Emerging Tech

The oldest type of molecule in the universe has been located at last

A milestone in the development of the early universe was the combination of helium and hydrogen atoms into a molecule called helium hydride. But strangely enough, this ancient molecule has never been detected in space before now.
Emerging Tech

The grid of the future will be powered by … giant subterranean bagpipes?

In order to transition to a more renewable-focused energy system, we need to scale up our grid storage capacity --- and our existing methods aren't going to cut it. Could compressed air be the key?
Emerging Tech

Mercury’s wobble as it spins reveals that it has an inner solid core

Scientists have long wondered what the inside of Mercury looks like, and they now have strong evidence that the planet has a large and solid metallic core. The data for the new findings was collected by the now-defunct MESSENGER mission.
Emerging Tech

Gravitational forces at heart of Milky Way shaped this star cluster like a comet

Hubble has captured the stunning Messier 62 cluster. The cluster is warped, with a long tail which stretches out to form a shape like a comet. It is thought this distortion is due to Messier 62's proximity to the center of the galaxy.
Emerging Tech

Burgers are just the beginning: Embracing the future of lab-grown everything

You’ve almost certainly heard of the 'farm to fork' movement, but what about 'lab to table'? Welcome to the fast-evolving world of lab-grown meat. Is this the future of food as we know it?
Emerging Tech

Troubleshooting Earth

It’s no secret that humans are killing the planet. Some say it’s actually so bad that we’re hurtling toward a sixth major extinction event -- one which we ourselves are causing. But can technology help us undo the damage we’ve…
Emerging Tech

Inside the Ocean Cleanup’s ambitious plan to rid the ocean of plastic waste

In 2013, Boyan Slat crowdfunded $2.2 million to fund the Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit organization that builds big, floating trash collectors and sets them out to sea, where they’re designed to autonomously gobble up garbage.
Emerging Tech

Climeworks wants to clean the atmosphere with a fleet of truck-sized vacuums

Using machines that resemble jet engines, Climeworks wants to fight climate change by extracting CO2 from thin air. The gas can then be sold to carbonated drink and agriculture companies, or sequestered underground.
Emerging Tech

How 3D printing has changed the world of prosthetic limbs forever

When he was 13 years old, Christophe Debard had his leg amputated. Here in 2019, Debard's Print My Leg startup helps others to create 3D-printed prostheses. Welcome to a growing revolution!