Elon Musk's Boring Company, a project that plans to use futuristic underground pods to transport cars across long distances without traffic congestion, is starting to take shape.
Fresh from raising $300,000 from the sale of hats — an 'initial hat offering' — and getting permission for projects in Maryland, Musk has confirmed that the company will bid on a project to link downtown Chicago with O'Hare Airport.
The plan is to find an alternative to taxis or Uber rides, which are estimated to cost $40-$60.
"There's a lot of room between the price of the CTA or parking to price a service in a way that you can make a lot of revenue," Deputy Mayor Bob Rivkin told Chicago Sun Times.
The city is looking for initial proposals for a high-speed rail that will take travelers to the city in less than 20 minutes. The brief, according to Chicago Sun Times, covers "a structure built above or below ground," which wouldn't appear at first glance to preclude The Boring Company, although certainly under or over-ground trains are the convention for transportation links this. Nonetheless, Musk plans to throw his Boring hat into the ring.
Proposals are due by January 23, after which the top candidates will be given an RFP to take things forward.
This is not the first time that the Tesla and SpaceX founder has answered the call of local government. Back in March, Tesla won a contract to develop the world's largest power bank — a 100 MW/129 MWh battery bank to be precise — in Southern Australia as part of a state project to modernize the power grid and ensure more consistent delivery of electricity to households.
The battery was completed within Musk's 100-day target — he promised it would be free otherwise — and it is all set to go live on December 1.
The Boring Company's Chicago project is another ambitious effort, but we'll see the fruits of the company's vision — which Musk dreamed up while stuck in traffic last year — sooner than that. The first installation will be a tunnel under Hawthorne near SpaceX headquarters in California.
Written by Jon Russell for TechCrunch