Elon Musk shows off Boring Company’s ‘disturbingly long’ tunnel beneath LA

Billionaire entrepreneur and Twitter enthusiast Elon Musk took to the microblogging site on Sunday to show off the interior of a “disturbingly long” tunnel.

This, of course, is no ordinary tunnel, as it’s been built by Musk’s Boring Company, the outfit that’s aiming to create a new high-speed transit system beneath the streets of Los Angeles, and other cities if the scheme proves viable. (Meanwhile, Musk’s other company is taking a disturbingly long trip into outer space, as SpaceX’s Starman just passed Mars…)

The two-mile-long test tunnel in southwest Los Angeles is gearing up for a grand opening on December 10, with members of the public to be offered free rides along its track the following day.

“Walked full length of Boring Co tunnel under LA tonight,” Musk said in his tweet, describing it, rather curiously, as “disturbingly long,” a description that leaves us wondering how he might describe Line 3 of China’s Guangzhou Metro, which, at 37.5 miles (60.4 km), is currently the longest transit tunnel in the world.

Accompanying the tweet is a trance-inducing video (below) that takes you on a ride of the full length of the tunnel ahead of its official opening in December.

The tunnel travels a short distance north from below the headquarters of SpaceX — another of Musk’s ventures — before turning and traveling west for several miles.

The route that the tunnel takes is probably the least important part of its design. For Musk and his Boring Company team, it’s the first real chance to showcase a functioning system as he seeks to convince city planners of its potential to transform transit in cities facing such challenges — which means pretty much all of them.

So how would Musk’s high-speed, subterranean transit system work?

After building the tunnel with a digging machine that’s essentially the best video game ever, the idea is to use electric-powered sleds to move vehicles, as well as foot passengers and cyclists, to multiple destinations across a city at speeds of up to 150 mph.

As demonstrated in the video at the top of the page, vehicles and passenger pods would be lowered from street level onto the sleds via an elevator system, with recent reports suggesting the elevators could also connect to office buildings and private residences.

At the start of a journey, the sled transfers from a side tunnel onto the main track, so all of the passengers are constantly on the move. “This is a big difference compared to subways that stop at every stop, whether you’re getting off or not,” Musk said.

Another important part of the project is to revolutionize the tunneling industry with faster, more efficient boring machines.

In a positive sign for the Boring Company, it’s already been chosen to enter into talks for the design of a high-speed, 18-mile tunnel link between downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport, and the company’s idea for a fast transit tunnel between Dodger Stadium and a transit hub in Los Angeles has also been welcomed by the authorities.


Jeep’s outdoorsy Gladiator pickup truck bares it all ahead of schedule

Jeep will introduce the long-promised Wrangler-based pickup truck at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Named Gladiator, the model was designed to conquer the great outdoors, not for the construction site.
Emerging Tech

New simulation shows how Elon Musk’s internet satellite network might work

Elon Musk has the dream of building a network for conveying internet traffic via thousands of satellites. A new simulation created by a computer scientist looks at how feasible the idea is.

These cheat codes made gaming history

For almost as long as video games have existed, there have been video game cheat codes. Here are some of the most famous cheat codes, including the legendary Konami Code found in dozens of games.

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.
Emerging Tech

Watch this lab-grown heart tissue beat just like the real thing

A team of researchers in Germany have used stem cells to create a lab-grown human heart tissue which actually beats, as well as responding to drugs in the same way as the real thing.
Emerging Tech

Shipping crate filled with 3D-printing robots may be the future of construction

Autodesk has created a robot-filled shipping container which may represent the future of construction work. The crate contains two robots able to 3D print custom components for building sites.
Emerging Tech

Michigan’s former transportation chief has some advice for wannabe smart cities

After 31 years as Michigan’s transportation director, Kirk Steudle has seen it all, particularly with smart city projects. He spoke with Digital Trends recently about what makes smart cities work, and offers advice along the way.
Emerging Tech

Sticking these tiny needles in your eye may help fight blindness

An eye patch covered in tiny needles sounds like a torture device. In fact, it's a potential new medical treatment for eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Bottle-flipping robots may be the most millennial thing we’ve ever seen

Until drones start vaping, you're unlikely to see anything more millennial than a recent contest in Japan in which robots competed to pull off some seriously impressive bottle-flipping feats.

Car parts maker ZF is using drones to deliver components to its factories

ZF recently became the first entity in Germany to receive approval to use drones to deliver spare parts, and the company now uses them to deliver parts from its central warehouses to its workshops.
Emerging Tech

Meet the 4K selfie drone that folds like a book, follows you like a paparrazzo

Having a drone that could follow you everywhere while taking high-quality images without crashing has been a flight of fantasy. With ZeroZero's Hover 2, not only can you have a fully autonomous 4K selfie drone, you can have it for $400.
Emerging Tech

These Alexa-stuffed retro phones don’t listen until you take them off the hook

Looking for an Amazon Echo with a cool vintage touch? Los Angeles-based Grain Design is taking old, non-working antique phones and transforming them into amazing Alexa smart speakers.
Smart Home

This alarm clock uses targeted light and sound to wake you, but not your partner

The Wake v2 isn't like your typical bedside alarm. Instead, it wakes you by shining a soft light directly into your face, thereby not disturbing the person sharing a bed with you. Pretty smart, huh?
Emerging Tech

This exosuit can turn humans into strong lifting machines

A company called Levitate Technologies has developed a fire-resistant upper body exoskeleton that’s capable of lowering exertion levels by up to 80 percent when you carry out manual work.