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Here’s our first glimpse of Elon Musk’s tunnel boring machine

Here’s our first glimpse of Elon Musk’s tunnel boring machine


Is this Musk’s ‘Nannie’ device?

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@davesvanlife, via Business Insider

News has been dribbling out for a couple months now about Elon Musk’s new tunneling venture, the Boring Company. Today, a SpaceX employee posted a photo on Instagram (which was first spotted by Business Insider) of the actual machine that will be boring Musk’s tunnel.

A few months ago, Musk told Bloomberg that he already has a boring machine. Its a 2015 model nicknamed “Nannie” that’s 400 feet long and weighs 1,200 tons. Whether this a photo of Nannie or not is still unclear. (If anything, it would just be a piece, since the device isn’t close to being 400 feet long.) A spokesperson for SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Musk is currently digging a test tunnel under the parking lot of SpaceX’s headquarters in LA. It doesn’t go anywhere (apart from down), and Musk will need city permits to tunnel on public property. There’s no word on where the tunnel might go, only that it will accommodate cars. (We’ve seen pictures of this hole already.)

Musk came up with the idea for the company when he was — what else? — stuck in LA traffic. Interestingly enough, the last time Musk was struck by an idea when trapped in the city’s notorious gridlock was when he came up with his idea for supersonic transportation through airless tubes called “Hyperloop Alpha.” Several hyperloop companies have since sprung up, and public demonstrations are expected later this year.

Meanwhile, other Silicon Valley companies are also tackling high-concept ideas to confront the scourge of traffic. Uber just concluded its three-day conference on on-demand, flying taxis. This could be seen as a rare instance of Musk going low, while Uber prefers to go high.