The Boring Company - New Elon Musk's company

It’s everything but Boring

The Hyperloop, another Elon Musk crazy project accepted!


Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Tesla & SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that he received “verbal government approval” to start his Hyperloop tunnel project. For those who are lost in all Musk’s projects, his new crazy project consists of building the longest tunnel and developing an underground Hyperloop (ultra-high-speed train) transit network connecting New York, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. He also eventually talked about an SF-LA and a Texas loop.

Famously known to release new concepts & ideas online to generate a big hype, Musk first releases his Hyperloop concept in a 2013 white paper. Last year, Musk built an Hyperloop test track in SpaceX parking lot and hosted a competition among university students who developed Hyperloop prototypes. End of last year, he also founded another new company, the Boring Company, that has as the only purpose to solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic in the biggest cities of the world.

In the initial 2013 article, Musk explained that he was publishing this concept online for outside groups to work on because he’s too busy with Tesla and SpaceX. But with his yesterday tweet, where he announced that he now has the government support, his last year university competition, and by officializing the foundation of The Boring Company, Musk seems more involved than he was planning.



Why and What is the Hyperloop concept.

As describe in Musk’s 2013 60-pages white paper, the only option for super fast traveling like he described is to build a tube that contains a special environment. Perhaps, a low-pressure tube with some individual capsules that are transported at high speed throughout the length of the tube. In other words, he proposed an underground vacuum-transit network.
The Hyperloop idea came from a real pain point for most of the car drivers of all big cities in the world, the traffic. To solve that problem, roads must go 3D, which means we need to develop either flying cars/buses or tunnels. Unlike flying vehicles, the tunnels are weatherproof, the construction and operation are silent and invisible to anyone on the surface, and they don’t fall on your head. To make this concept work, we need to find a way of increasing the tunneling speed and dropping costs by at least a factor of 10.

How can we reduce the tunneling costs?

The first step is by reducing the diameters of the tunnels. According to the Boring Company resources, by building a one-lane tunnel, we would need a 28 feet diameter tube. But by placing the cars on a stabilized electric skate, we can reduce the diameter to 14 feet, and by reducing the diameter in half, it reduces the costs by 3-4 times.

The second part of the answer to how we can reduce the costs consists of increasing the speed of the Tunnel Boring Machine (the machine that creates the tunnel). These machines are really slow and super expensive to run. As stated by the Boring Company, many solutions are possibles to reduce these costs:

  1. Increase TBM power
    The machine’s power output can be tripled.
  2. Continuously tunnel
    When building a tunnel, current soft-soil machines tunnel for 50% of the time and erect tunnel support structures the other 50%. This is not efficient.
  3. Automate the TBM
    While smaller diameter tunneling machines are automated, larger ones currently require multiple human operators. By automating the larger TBMs, both safety and efficiency are increased.
  4. Go electric
    Current tunnel operations often include diesel locomotives. These can be replaced by electric vehicles.

Will be intriguing to see which surprise OR other company Elon Musk will found to change the way people live their day to day.


  1. The Boring Company. (2017). FAQ. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Jul. 2017].
  2. Etherington, D. (2017). Elon Musk says he has ‘verbal’ okay to build multi-state underground Hyperloop. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: [Accessed 21 Jul. 2017].
  3. (2017). [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Jul. 2017].
  4. Randall, M. (2017). Elon Musk Claims U.S. Approval for World’s Longest Tunnel. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Jul. 2017].
  5. Bradley, R. (2017). Elon Musk’s Hyperloop sounds impossible, but this company is making impressive progress. [online] MIT Technology Review. Available at: [Accessed 21 Jul. 2017].
  6. minutes, E. (2017). Elon Musk sent another cryptic tweet about his plan to build a Hyperloop that could travel between NY and DC in 29 minutes. [online] Business Insider. Available at: [Accessed 21 Jul. 2017].
  7. The Verge. (2017). Elon Musk says he has a green light to build a NY-Philly-Baltimore-DC hyperloop. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Jul. 2017].
  8. The Verge. (2013). Elon Musk reveals plans for high-speed Hyperloop. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Jul. 2017].

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8 comments on “It’s everything but Boring”

  1. Great blog post, Raphael. Many people have expressed criticism about the Hyperloop One project in regards to feasibility & costs. However, I believe that it has great potential given the international interest and recent successful tests but I am skeptical regarding the costs that customers might have to pay in order for the governments to recover costs. What is your opinion on that front?


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    1. Hi Saran,
      Great point, I understand your point of view. However, when Musk presented this project in 2013 initially, the costs and the accessibility, were two of the most important points for him. If nobody uses it, this new invention is completely useless. We find the same idea behind the new Tesla model 3 (the cheapest one – accessible to everyone).

  2. Great introduction to the Boring Company. This Musk concept is fascinating to me because of my interests in transportation and my background in civil engineering. There are a couple things I wanted to bring up though:
    1. Regulatory – the regulatory environment of land development and construction in California is extremely complex. This project delves into uncharted territory in terms of permitting and could easily end up bogged down by bureaucracy
    2. Geotechnical Engineering – Typical construction projects require dozens of geotechnical soil borings to test the characteristics of ground conditions. A project like this would require hundreds, if not thousands of borings. The complexities of soil coupled with boring under privately owned land would result in numerous legal disputes. A current example of that is the Millenium Tower in San Francisco, which has sunk over 17 inches. Building owners blame the adjacent construction of the Transbay Transit Center for the sinking.
    3. Tunnel boring issues – Seattle’s infamous Bertha got stuck for over 2 years. A vertical pit had to be dug down 120′ to lift the TBM cutter head to the surface for repairs.
    Granted, this TBM was boring a 57′ diameter tunnel, far larger than Musk’s plan for a 14′ diameter tunnel. Musk optimistically plans on increasing the speed of tunneling by 500 to 1,000 percent.
    4. Obvious alternatives – an obvious question is why don’t you just create a subway under Los Angeles if you’re going to dig tunnels. Then, it’d be accessible to more of the public rather than just those with cars. The unit economics of short distance flight might beat those of digging a network of tunnels. Lillium, a startup developing electric vertical takeoff/landing vehicles, is hoping to be first to market.


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  3. In my mind, there is a kind of people who are pioneers extending the boundary of our recognition, and obviously, Elon is one of them. And I admire him not only because of the brains filled with crazy ideas, but also his capability of making these ideas sounds like reasonable and reachable to us. He can slip a huge idea into small tasks, and finish them step by step. I hope there are more people like him can lead people to achieve more.

  4. It’s really interesting to see where Hyperloop will go. One thing is reducing costs but another, and quite important point, is safety. I stumbled upon an engineering post pointing out some of the potential dangers in terms of using compression to move objects (it has cool videos too):

    It has a rather pessimistic view on the Hyperlooop project, however, Musk’s approach to make things happen through open innovation could be the key to solve this.

  5. Hi Raphael ,
    Hyperloop seems like a very interesting idea even though I would question if it is the best solution or even a possible solution.
    More specifically I would like to comment on your thoughts on Tunnel Boring Machines. You briefly commented on the fact that a lot of the boring isn’t automated yet and that this would decrease the costs a lot. The problem is, that especially when boring deep down the make-up of the different earth layers are very complex and varying, which is why a “smooth” boring process is still close to impossible as every few meters can require a different problem to solve. As Jacob pointed out the soil borings are still vital and super expensive. Unfortunately we don’t have any “x-ray” kind of technologies yet that can cheaply analyse the makeup of the ground below.
    Lets see what the future brings and iff anyone can come up with a sustainable Hyperloop implementation.


  6. Unlike Tesla and SpaceX, two Elon Musk companies that were ambitious, but well within the realm of “previously certified”, The Boring Company will have numerous new hurdles that transportation companies have not faced previously. As an employee for a company whose name differs from “The Boring Company” by only one letter, I have immense appreciation for the level of safety that’s demanded by federal regulators. Especially since this is a new field that hasn’t been pioneered before, I think Mr. Musk will realize very soon the challenges of conforming the federal regulations…especially since I’m sure many don’t even exist to cover this type of transportation. Furthermore, in highly populated and urban areas, much of the underground is already populated by sewage, water, and potentially electric lines. In order to avoid these, engineers will need to dig even deeper, which may have larger costs associated with it in urban areas.

  7. Interesting post! For me the frustration around new technologies, and hyper loop in particular, is the reluctance of some governments to invest in what they often see as “Silicon Valley experiments”. This is certainly the reception that Hyperloop has received in the UK, with few people taking it seriously. However, “Silicon Valley experiments” are the reason for most of the technology we now use!
    The British government are in the process of investing around £56bn into “HS2”, a new high speed rail network from London to the North, for completion in the next 15 years. However, in this timeframe I believe we can expect to see Hyperloop becoming a reality, if just for cargo rather than people initially. It is therefor frustrating to see so much money being spent on a project that, when completed, will already be outdated!


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