Why our future is going to be boring

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Illustration by the Boring Company | all right reserved

the Future of Urban Transportation

When we talk about the future of travel, people often think of flying cars, rockets that transport the top 1% from Shanghai to New York in 39 minutes, or trains. Some might even think of hyper-loop, a concept that is supposed to send people at supersonic speeds on inter-city trips, leaving air-plains behind. But while flying cars, for example, seem extremely exciting and cold, they are unrealistic to become the new standard, as long as we cannot control gravity. We cannot stop the noise those copters will produce, the potential that one of those flying bases is hitting people, or the influence of weather, making flying impossible. Quite frankly, not everybody wants to feel like living next to an airport; because that’s how it would going to be.

We all know Elon Musk. Elon is famous for selling flamethrower (smoking joints on podcasts) and shooting a brand new Tesla into orbit. That is already impressive, but those are just some of his “fun-projects”. His typical day consists of rushing between Tesla and SpaceX, the two companies he is most passionate about right now. His day is scheduled into 5 minutes blocks. He works up to 16 hours a day, not including his Twitter-maintaining, commuting, or eating.

Nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week — Elon Musk.

His time is critical. He is the guy who would need 28 hours a day. That’s why he is quartering both companies in the same neighborhood to minimize commuting time and improve efficiency… But we all can agree that working 16 hours a day, he doesn’t have much free time. And spending at least 1:30 hours a day commuting in Las Angeles traffic certainly pissed him off. One day in 2016, sitting frustrated in his car, he tweeted:

Ellon Musk tweet that he is starting a digging company, following up with:

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The Boring Company is Born!

We all know that if Elon announces something, chances are high, he will do everything he can to get it correctly done. If he reveals a company, it will be world-changing, innovative, and profitable; something lit. So why the heck did he take ten revolutionary steps back into the late 18. century?????? Digging holes has been done for hundreds of years. So what’s different now?

On the first look, not too much. Elon is not reinventing the wheel (not this time); the only thing he is trying to archive is breaking down construction costs while increasing its safety. So how can this be a trillion-dollar market, you might ask.

Before we get into why we should define what industry means, the market comes with customers. You wouldn’t have a market if you got no people using or buying your product/solution. That’s at least how the western free market works. Demand governs supply. And lucky Elon, there is an excellent supply needed in transportation and delivery right now. He created five different use cases; 2 of them seem to be the most interested and effective systems.

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Illustration by the Boring Company | all right reserved

Urban (loop) Transportation

Problem

Everybody hates traffic. Nobody likes sitting in a car, breathing contaminated air, while listening to some exciting musicals of car horns… If there would be a way to get driven by an autonomous vehicle, in a third of the time, some people are probably going to use it. Even if 30% of all participants in LA’s traffic used those systems, which costs, by the way, less than the money they would waste on fossil fuels while stuck in traffic, those people would make a drastic impact on traffic. They would help to make the streets a lot freer.

There will be different kinds of vehicles allowed. No car will be allowed to participate in the tunnel, which does not have TBC’s explicit permission, including autonomous driving systems, as well as no greenhouse emissions. The Boring Company will decide which car company is getting the right to use The Boring tube software; to use the system.

Solution

But what is the difference to conventional public transport systems, I hear you ask. The most significant improvement is that small transporting pods will replace long trains, offering unique destination areas. This way, people are demanding where they need to go, and they get assigned to individual pods, having the destination already programmed in. To put it in a nutshell, you will directly get to your destination without stopping at like 38 different stops between.

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Illustration by the Boring Company | all right reserved

Freighting Revolution

The trucking and general delivering industry is accountable for over 30% of all annual greenhouse emissions. It is an inefficient, slow, and expensive solution while guilty of 25% of all crashes every year (worldwide).

Problem

If, for example, you want to ship a fully loaded, 50,000 lbs Container from the port of Las Angeles to a fulfillment center near Chicago right now, you would probably send it by train. Using the Railway system, you can overcome those 3000 miles for around 3 cents each mile each tonne. But while that procedure is pretty cheap, it is also tiring slow. Freight trains only cruise at approximately 25 miles an hour, and combining the process of trucking the goods to and from the train stations, it takes up to 14 days to deliver one container. This needs to change!

Solution

That’s where The Boring Company comes in, planing on solving this matter by opening up specific tubes as “Truck-lines”, where electric, autonomous trucks will be sent through at around 120 miles/hour (200km/h). This shooing revolution would cut time to less than a day. The difference to ordinary streets is that they will continuously drive, not having to break for traffic-lights, turns, or other participants. Those tubes will be linear, one-way streets where ventilators will push tailwind at around 90 miles/hour in the direction of travel, taking away 3/4 of air resistance. Those factors combined could eventually double overall speed and efficiency in delivery, replacing street-trucks and trains. This would have a massive impact on our environment and would satisfy customers by minimizing order times. Once a nationwide Loop exists, which will take some more time, there will be no reason not to use the Boring System. Containers could be delivered in less than 24 hours, opening new opportunities for the e-commerce and general delivery market.

Some politicians will try to keep the trucking industry artificially alive, using arguments about millions of jobs being eventually lost. But fortunate us, we live in an enlightened world where people will understand its great potential and new job areas that will be developed: Job areas we might not even be able to think of right now. I mean, who believed in the 2000s that being an iOS app developer could be a career? Nobody! Since nobody knew what iOS is in the first place and what a rich market it is nowadays.

Breaking Down Costs

So we understand the great potential and market that is going to use Boring Tubes. But does building those immersive, massive and expensive systems make sense as a business matter? As Elon did it in the space industry, he is planning on drastically breaking down costs. He states that only if they can cut the expanses to a tenth it would make sense from a business perspective to extend the system nation-/worldwide.

Minimise the Digging

The problem with conventional tunnels is that humans actively drive them. They leave a lot of space on both sides, providing space for human inaccuracy. A typical one-way tunnel has something around 28 feet in diameter. While this seems to save, it truly is inefficient, takes a long time to construct, and costs a bunch-load of money.

The Boring Company, which from now on, I will refer to as TBC, is planning on cutting that number in having, leaving a diameter of exactly 14 feet, where traditional Tesla cars will fit in perfectly, leaving about 30–60 cm space to both sides. Cutting the diameter in half seems to be cutting costs in half, right?

Illustration by the Boring Company | all right reserved

Since general Borers are round, digging goes exponentially up to its radius; TBC just broke production and destruction time down by a factor of 4. Nice!

Evolution of Mining

Only quadrating the costs with systems like the Godot and Godot plus they developed back in 2017 is indeed not good enough for the Boring Company. That’s why they continuously research better digging procedures and ways to minimize time and effort while increasing its automatic possibilities and applicants. They are continually bettering their Tunnel Boring Machines; The official goal is to be faster than a slug! Shouldn’t it be easy, right?

Unfortunately, not much research has been done to improve the digging industry since, as Elon states, “It’s a boring business”. Still wondering where the company name comes from… 🤔.

The digging process is an expensive undertaking, costing between 100 million to 1 billion dollars each mile. One of the most time and money-consuming parts is that initially, the digging machine can only dig and install walls simultaneously. By updating the Godot machine, which wasn’t able to do those steps simultaneously, to Godot +, Construction time shrank about 50 percent compared to the standard.

Another way to decrease costs is to use the rock stratum they are digging off to make concrete, which they will use to build segments supporting the walls. Typically, many trucks and companies are involved in transporting the dirt and stones away. Since there is less need for that, this will also cut a lot of money. Bye Bye, truck-greenhouse-emission 🙂 Not used self-made concrete will be formed into Bricks that will be donated to local home constructions for people to “take away.”

Introducing Prufrock

Even though The Boring Company already made some great success, they see no point in stopping researching now. They are currently developing their third generation of TBM, Prufrock. TBC strongly believes that the advances Prufrock will give the company. Their future relies on a fast, cheap way to dig. Otherwise, projects like as planned would be impossible to pay up.

While conventional boring machines dig around 5 minutes, then cool down for about half an hour while segments are getting installed, Prufrock will hopefully sixfold TBM’s performance. This will be thanks to an entirely new Mining Methodology, which will be using a new Hexagon formed sheet, erecting segments, constructing, and installing them simultaneously while the machine keeps digging. They will uncover 35 minutes an hour of working time without needing to cool down.

Illustration by the Boring Company | all right reserved

Right now, The Boring Company can dig about 38 meters a day. This has some great potential to improve daily length to about 250 meters drastically.

Also, they are entirely taking away the setup process, where instead of building a TBM excavating launch pit, Prufrock could start directly digging from a ground Truck. This TBM will dig down to about 30 feet(+), where it continues digging straight. That makes it possible for a TBM to start the digging process within 48 hours, instead of initially up to 6 months!

Illustration by the Boring Company | all right reserved

We see how The Boring Company is trying hard to break down the construction period. Time is money, especially in an industry where you have to pay hundreds of people working on those projects.

Helpful and Innocent!

Comparing The Boring Companies on the web, you can see that 10x of publications and news sites explain TBC’s significant impact on society. They talk about the Las Vegas project, which is planned to be one, if not the first official loop system. They talk about how wonderful carbon emission neutral tubes would be for our environment and how safely and leisurely we will travel. And that is true; tunnels are working any weather, they are not being affected by earthquakes since they are mostly moving with the earth, and in the unrealistic occupation of fire, which basically is impossible, since nothing burnable is installed inside those tubes, tunnel’s ventilation system will remove the smoke to allow for safe evacuate.

However, even if TBC is able to bring down the price to only ten million dollars a mile, which seems to be a lot, but really is nothing compared to industry standards, it will still taking a long time to get back the invested money by users paying less than a dollar for 20+ miles!

It can be said that the boring company is doing a lot of social projects right now, getting governmental and people’s support. However, we don’t know if the boring company will connect the thousands of areas and build a network of tunnels. Because that still is fricking expensive! It might turn out as an excellent success for cargo delivery; however, having an entry/exit elevator every second corner in every bigger city internationally is expensive and seems not to be self-sustaining. For every mile built (10 million dollars optimally), it must be driven at least 100 million times, if not more, to start generating revenue. The shift might come, but slowly. While the streets are still working, they won’t be replaced. Something like the picture shown down below, if even, will probably only be available in single, chosen cities, leaving the more significant part of society’s daily commute reliant on streets and railways.

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Illustration by the Boring Company | all right reserved

Takeaways

The boring company will have a future. It will be Autonomous, fast, and safe. However, we don’t know which direction the boring company is going o lean in. The boring company is a company to watch, and maybe, one day, even to invest in. The Boring Company will significantly influence the car market by influencing which companies and cars can use the loop. It seems like a big monopole the boring company will have, regardless of whether it will be “social” or profitable. One thing is for sure though, the boring company is everything, BUT BORING.

If you would like to talk to me about literally anything, please hit me up on LinkedIn.

Cheers!

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Henri Klein

Henri Klein

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Hustler by harth with no definite direction | Youth Council Member @wef | Student @BromsSchool | Alumni @TheKSociety & @Prematch | 🇺🇳 🇩🇪 🇬🇧