Elon Musk's dream of circumventing traffic via high-speed underground "skates" has seemed like pie in the sky -- or rather, treasure in tunnels -- until this week.
The city of Chicago and Musk's tunneling startup announced this week that The Boring Company has been selected to build and operate an express service between the city center and O'Hare International Airport.
Musk originally conceived a network of tunnels that Los Angeles drivers could use to take an underground shortcut around traffic jams. The Boring Company has been building a demonstration tunnel beneath the California headquarters of SpaceX, another Musk joint.
As if to drive the reality of his vision home, the Boring Company shared what seems to be the first full-scale test of a vehicle running down one of its tunnels. The short video above, published to YouTube Thursday. shows a Tesla Model X being shuttled down a tunnel on a platter that doesn't quite seem to be moving at the high speeds promised, but it's a start.
Musk and the Boring Company have gone so far as to map out a network of stations for an underground transit system called "Loop" that would move not just cars, but also pedestrians and cyclists around the Los Angeles area using subterranean high-speed electric buses.
The Chicago project looks to be the first pilot project for this bus-style loop system. It will carry 16 passengers and luggage in electric vehicles underground at up to 100 miles per hour. (161 km/h)
At least, that's the plan. For now all we've seen is a single Tesla sashaying down a narrow tunnel. The Boring Company says it'll be able to get started on something much bigger in Chicago within the next few months.
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