Elon Musk's Boring Company wants to hold its first tunneling competition

September 9, 2020

Since its inception, the Boring Company, the tunneling part of Elon Musk’s array of companies that includes Tesla and SpaceX has been a unique venture and now it is issuing a challenge to the public to compete in tunnel boring competition. The challenge has been dubbed the first “Not-A-Boring Competition.”

“Teams will compete to bore a 30-m (98-ft) tunnel with a cross-sectional area of 0.2 m2 (2.1 sq ft),” the company wrote on its website. Winning categories will include the fastest to complete a tunnel, the fastest to complete a tunnel and a driving surface that a remote controlled Tesla can navigate, and the most accurately bored or on-target tunnel.

“The Boring Company’s goal is to build the tunnel infrastructure necessary to enable fast, safe and comfortable transportation, including Loop and Hyperloop. To feasibly build a large network of tunnels, one must first rapidly innovate to increase tunneling speed and reduce tunneling costs,” the company said on the release.

In promoting the contest the Boring Company said it is challenging teams to come up with tunneling solutions and answer the question, “Can you beat the snail?”

“The Boring Company is gauging interest from everyone (students, companies, hobbyists, etc.) from around the world to design, build, and race their own tunneling solution at The Boring Company’s Dig-a-Factory in the first Not-a-Boring Competition in Spring 2021.”

The Boring Company grew out of Musk's ambitions to revolutionize both inter- and intra-city transit using his Hyperloop and Loop designs.

Hyperloop is Musk's near-supersonic tube transport that he open-sourced and a few startups have taken up developing. Loop is a underground system of tunnels that would allow commuters to bypass traffic by getting whisked beneath it on sleds moving at up to twice the speed allowed on the freeway.

As the above concepts rely on being able to bore a whole lot of tunnels, the Boring Company was born.

A demonstration tunnel has been completed at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, and more recently the company has been digging tunnels beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center that could open for use during conferences next year, if we ever have conferences again, that is.

Overall, though, the promise of Loop and Hyperloop have been largely unrealized. The Boring Company is hoping that some old-fashioned competition and camaraderie among ambitious innovators might change that. First, though, it's just collecting a list of potential teams from schools and companies around the world to see if there's actually enough boring interest.

 

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