Dig it: Elon Musk’s Boring Co. gets tapped for Chicago project

Dig it: Elon Musk’s Boring Co. gets tapped for Chicago project

Autonomous electric "skates" would carry 8 to 16 people and their luggage, or a single passenger vehicle, through underground tunnels at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour between O'Hare and downtown.

A taxi ride from downtown Chicago to O'Hare today costs about $40, and can take more than hour in morning traffic.

"We're really excited to work with the mayor and the city to bring this new high-speed public transportation system to Chicago!" the company said on Twitter.

If you're planning to fly into Chicago's O'Hare International Airport at some point in the future, you might be pleasantly surprised by the transit options.

Autonomous electric vehicles known as skates would carry 8 to 16 people and their luggage on the 18-mile trip between O'Hare and Block 37 in about 12 minutes, reaching a top speed of about 150 miles per hour.

The Tribune reports that The Boring Company will shoulder all the costs of the project, which it estimates to be around $1 billion.

Boring's effort to win fast-track city approval of a 2.7-mile-long tunnel beneath a busy stretch of Los Angeles' West Side has drawn a court challenge from two neighborhood organizations. According to the Chicago Sun Times, The Boring Company says it can install the whole thing, including the new airport station and Block 37 renovation, for under $1 billion. Musk founded the company in the hope of alleviating city gridlock by building more tunnels, an endeavor that has set the company's engineers toward improving tunneling techniques.


But they have also been experimenting with a lot of different ideas for the transportation system that they will use inside those tunnels.

For the Loop, passengers are expected to ride in autonomous 16-passenger vehicles, or "skates", based loosely on Tesla's Model X SUV.The battery-powered vehicles will move along tracks with wheels on a concrete shelf much like a auto, while four stabilizing wheels on the sides would ride along curbs in the tunnel walls.

According to the Boring Company, the skates would have Wi-Fi and be large enough to hold passengers and cargo.

A success in Chicago would give Boring Co. considerable credibility as it tries to move ahead on other projects, including service within Los Angeles and a planned system between Washington, D.C., and New York City.

The Boring Company says it will shoulder the financial burden of the project, which will be "100% privately funded". Of course, other projects have worked out far more expensive: London's under-construction high-speed Crossrail system is costing around $250 million per mile.

Musk announced last month that it had almost finished building its first stretch of tunnel there.

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