Elon Musk's underground highway is ready and other projects make good progress too
by Gabriella GYÖRGY, Journalist
Many of us did not care much when we first heard that Elon Musk is planning something once again. A year ago, he had figured that the traffic jams in Los Angeles can be solved with an underground tunnel. Since then, a two-mile-long (3.20 kilometers) prototype has been completed. However, this is not the final stop for the Steve Jobs of our era. His company is planning to construct 30 levels of tunnels below the surface.
Everybody experienced traffic jams on the way to work or heading home. Most people choose an alternative route as a solution to the problem, or they simply pick another time for driving if they can. Elon Musk experienced the same in the city of Los Angeles which is famous for its traffic jams. However, he chose something different. A tunnel should be drilled under the ground – as the idea arrived – and one year later, he founded the Boring Company. The name is ambiguous. It means “Drilling Company” as well as “Dull Company” at the same time. Nevertheless, the second one is not that clever, as the idea cannot be called boring at all. The truth is that boring machines already exist and they are used for drilling subway tunnels. However, Musk wanted to increase efficiency by improving existing technology. Not surprisingly, the conventional diesel drive was replaced by electric motors. Thanks to the father of Tesla, the boring machine developed by the company is much faster than its predecessors.
The last few centimeters before this particular boring machine has “reached its goal” was broadcast live on Twitter. The finished tunnel starts at Space X's headquarters in Hawthorne and reaches Los Angeles suburb. The video uploaded to Twitter shows Elon Musk walking through the tunnel. Those who are not satisfied with the video do not have to wait for long. Starting December 10, the tunnel will be opened for the public and everybody will be able to drive through it. Moreover, using the tunnel will be completely free of charge on the first day. Instead of fast-paced cars, cyclists and pedestrians will have the opportunity to try it. Meanwhile the work does not stop. The Boring Company has been authorized to dig a tunnel for a private garage. On this way, they will be able to move cars down to the tunnel. According to the plans, entry points and exits will be placed every mile in order to make the super-fast tunnel easily accessible. In the tunnel, cars and other transport vehicles will have speed of 241 kilometers per hour. Chicago and Washington have also showed interest towards the tunnel of the Boring Company.
Despite the fact that the innovator regularly informs the public, even tech enthusiasts have hard time to catch up with the projects of this genius mind. These initiatives run on the ground, on water as well as in the air at the same time.
Space X has also reached an important milestone recently. According to the company’s plans, the whole world will be covered with broadband internet. To secure internet access, thousands of satellites need to be deployed in space. In the first phase, 4425 satellites will be launched to orbit. The US authorities gave green light for the initiative in March. The Federal Communications Office has now given permission for the second phase in which 7518 additional satellites will be deployed. If all goes well, the Starlink, a digital network that covers the whole planet, will be operational by March 2027. As the units are designed to operate on a relatively low Earth orbit, Space X says their network will provide one Gigabit network speed with low latency. In addition to Musk’s team, several other companies are working on providing free internet access. This is under development by Google and Facebook as well. However, less-known companies such as Kepler Communications, LeoSat, or Telesat Canada also have similar projects.
The development of Hyperloop, the vacuum train designed by Musk, is also in progress. The capsule that is able to carry passengers has recently reached Toulouse, France. The truth is that the capsule was not traveling in the vacuum tube in which, according to the plans, it will reach the speed of 1200 kilometers per hour in the future. Still, it is a great achievement regarding the existence of the project. It is especially because the sci-fi vehicle will be available for Hungarians as well. According to the plans, a line of the world's most advanced means of transport will be constructed between Bratislava, Vienna and Budapest. The travel time would be no more than 10 minutes. It seems that the seemingly incomprehensible vacuum travel is not far away at all. The project must certainly be completed by the engineers by the year of 2021, but it may even be completed a year before that. This transportation method that is four times faster than the French high speed train, TGV, will become our reality. The realization of this initiative would certainly eradicate all doubts in connection with Musk’s ideas.