Musk wants 'boring company' to disrupt infrastructure business

The tunneling business does not have any full-time employees yet, but it will eventually be launched as an independent company.

Tesla chief Elon Musk has shed a bit more light on his plans to disrupt the tunneling business.

Referred to jokingly as The Boring Company, the business does not have any full-time employees yet but will eventually be launched as an independent company separate from Tesla and SpaceX, according to a recent Bloomberg interview.

After shaking up the automotive and aerospace industries, the ambitious executive apparently views the infrastructure segment as ripe for disruption. Like pre-SpaceX rocket launches, most tunneling projects are extremely expensive and prone to cost overruns.

Boston's Big Dig is perhaps the most notorious example. It was originally scheduled to be finished in 1998 for $2.8 billion but the project was delayed for nearly a decade and eventually cost more than $14 billion.

Speaking of a pending project closer to home, Musk points out that the $2.4 billion plan to extend a LA subway line by barely more than two and a half miles is "basically a billion dollars a mile."

A 'demo tunnel' is already under construction in a parking lot across the street from the SpaceX headquarters. Musk will not disclose where the tunnel will go, but he tells Bloomberg it will eventually serve an entire network of road tunnels for cars. His vision appears to center around large multi-level tunnels that are created using much faster tunneling machines than the current state of the art.

"We have skyscrapers with all these levels, and we have a flat, two-dimensional road system," he argues.

The project is expected to start with a used boring machine, allowing engineers to rethink the technology and build a new system that can simultaneously dig through the earth while setting the tunnel walls in place. Such an achievement will likely take years, though Musk seems eager to begin moving forward immediately.

Read more!