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The Boring Company

Elon Musk says The Boring Company will launch in China this month

Elon Musk says The Boring Company will launch in China this month

August 3, 2019

Elon Musk wants to drill holes in China. The Tesla founder has tweeted to reveal that his tunnelling and transportation startup, The Boring Company, will be launch in China later this month.

Musk is due to speak at an AI conference, called the World Artificial Intelligence Conference, taking place in Shanghai on August 29-31. Replying to a tweet about the event he announced: “Will also be launching The Boring Company China on this trip.”

Another Twitter user chipped into the conversation to ask whether the company would also do underwater tunnels — to which Musk replied simply “yes“.

A securities filing last month revealed that the The Boring Company had raised its first outside investment via the sale of $120M in stock. So the company has some extra cash sloshing around to plough into new ventures.

It also recently landed its first commercial contract: $48.7M to build and operate an underground “people mover” in Las Vegas, focused on the Las Vegas Convention Center.

This underground ‘people mover’ is not, as you might imagine, a tried and tested metro train system. The plan apparently involves building two tunnels: One for vehicles (Musk does also sell electrics cars) and a second tunnel for pedestrians who will be carried in (modified) Tesla cars. The latter fully autonomous, under the plan.

Current generation Teslas are not capable of driving themselves, merely offering driving assistance features to humans. But autonomous driving inside a tunnel is about as much of a controlled environment you could hope for — without, y’know, sticking cars together on rails and making a driverless train (like the one that’s been serving London’s Docklands area since 1987).

The Las Vegas contract specifies …

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It’s fight night in Las Vegas: Elon Musk’s Loop vs the Monorail

It’s fight night in Las Vegas: Elon Musk’s Loop vs the Monorail

August 1, 2019

The latest bout in Las Vegas is not taking place in a raucous casino boxing ring, but in the hushed rooms of planning committees. The reigning champion, the Las Vegas Monorail, is facing upstart challenger The Boring Company, in a fight to decide the future of Sin City’s urban transportation.

In May, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority approved a $48.7 million contract for The Boring Company (TBC) to design and build a short underground transit system at the city’s Convention Center, using Tesla electric vehicles running through narrow tunnels. 

The ambitious contract calls for the system, called the LVCC Loop, to be up and running in time for the city’s biggest trade show, CES, in January 2021. Over the next 18 months, TBC has to construct one pedestrian tunnel, two 0.8-mile vehicle tunnels and three underground stations, as well as modify and test seven-seater Tesla cars to carry up to 16 people. 

TBC has already submitted detailed construction plans to the city for review, which TechCrunch has obtained, and recently raised $120 million in funding. The company hopes to start construction later this summer. 

But TBC’s tight deadlines — and the payments it receives by meeting them — could be jeopardized by the Monorail’s concerns that the new tunnels could undermine its own system. To connect two parts of the Convention Center, the Loop will have to burrow directly beneath the Monorail’s elevated tracks.

Fear of Monorail damage

“The proposed underground people mover system intersects our existing system route, and it appears the presented tunnel alignment interferes with our existing columns for the Las Vegas Monorail system and creates significant concern regarding both vertical and lateral loads,” Monorail CEO Curtis Myles wrote in a letter to Clark County planning officials in June.

Chris Kaempfer, a lawyer representing …

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Elon Musk’s Boring Company snags $120 million in new funding

Elon Musk’s Boring Company snags $120 million in new funding

July 25, 2019

Elon Musk’s tunneling and transportation startup The Boring Company has raised its first outside investment through the sale of $120 million in stock, according to a securities filing.

The details of authorized sale of stock were first reported by Bloomberg News, which reviewed the filing obtained by Prime Unicorn Index.

The main investors in the stock sale were 8VC, Vy Capital, Craft Ventures and Valor Capital, and DFJ, according to a Boring Company spokesperson.

Steve Jurvetson, a longtime friend, adviser and early backer of Musk’s other companies SpaceX and Tesla, also made an investment through his new fund.

The investment comes just a two months since the The Boring Company landed a $48.7 million commercial contract to build and operate an underground “people mover” in Las Vegas. After receiving approval from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, TBC secured the contract in May to build an underground loop system that shuttles people.

The initial design for the project, dubbed Campus Wide People Mover, or CWPM, will focus on the Las Vegas Convention Center, which is currently in the midst of an expansion that is expected to be completed in time for CES 2021. The newly expanded Las Vegas Convention Center will span about 200 acres once completed. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA)estimates that people walking the facility would travel two miles from one end to the other, a distance that prompted officials to find a transportation solution.

Since landing the contract in Las Vegas, TBC has ramped up its hiring as it starts to scale up and move beyond the status of Musk pet project. (TBC hasn’t publicized how many people it employs; estimates from various sources put it at more than 80 people, although there’s evidence of overlap between SpaceX and TBC.)

TBC previously …

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Tesla has begun preparations for Model Y production at its Fremont factory

Tesla has begun preparations for Model Y production at its Fremont factory

July 24, 2019

Tesla has already started the preparations required to get production started on its forthcoming Model Y compact all-electric SUV, according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk . During his introductory comments on the automaker’s Q2 2019 earnings call, Musk noted that prep had started at its facility in Fremont, confirming a report from CNBC from March.

In Tesla’s first earnings call for 2019, Musk said that it was in the process of deciding between Fremont and its Gigafactory in Nevada for production of the Model Y, which is going to be based on the Model 3 platform and will share some of its componentry, something that Musk noted will help reduce its cost of production.

The Model Y, revealed in March, looks quite similar at first glance to the Model 3. It has a slightly higher profile, however, putting it in this compact SUV range. It has similar interior features to the Model 3, including the horizontal 15-inch touchscreen, and also features a panoramic roof more like its larger Model X premium all-electric SUV sibling. Pricing for the Model Y will begin at $39,000, and that version will have a 230-mile range. It’s currently planned to ship sometime in the fall of 2020.

Tesla should be able to get to around 7,500 to 8,000 Model Ys produced at Fremont by the end of the year, Musk confirmed in response to a question from an analyst on the call.

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Elon Musk says next Hyperloop competition will be in a six-mile, curved tunnel

Elon Musk says next Hyperloop competition will be in a six-mile, curved tunnel

July 22, 2019

Elon Musk planning to change up the Hyperloop student engineering competition that his company SpaceX has run for the past four years. Next year’s competition will be done in a tunnel that’s over six miles long, the SpaceX CEO said on Twitter on Sunday, with a curve instead of being in a straight line like the current, 3/4-mile test tunnel at SpaceX’s Hawthorne HQ.

That’s a big change, and one that it’s unclear how and where SpaceX will make it happen, given that the current test tunnel can support likely an additional “200 meters” according to Boring Company President Steve Davis speaking at this year’s Hyperloop Pod Competition finals earlier on Sunday.

Davis and Musk discussed extending the tunnel on stage, but it sounded like they were planning a relatively minor extension next year, with Musk musing that they’d likely be able to build a longer, Boring company-dug tunnel about three years from now for use in the annual student challenge.

“I don’t think we’ll have a long enough, straight enough underground tunnel a year from now but I think three years from now we definitely will,” Musk said during a Q&A at the competition. “So figure three years from now, we’ll at least have a couple miles […] now then you can really move.”

Musk also entertained the possibility of starting a new engineering competition around The Boring Co’s main mission: Tunnelling.

“We could maybe do a tunnelling competition, that might be good,” Musk said. “We’ll consider a tunnelling competition,” he concluded after a few seconds of thought.

“I think a tunnelling thing would be pretty exciting,” Musk said later in response to a follow-up question by one …

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Team TUM wins SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition with record 288 mph top speed

Team TUM wins SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition with record 288 mph top speed

July 22, 2019

SpaceX hosted its fourth annual SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition finals on Sunday at the test tube it built outside its Hawthorne HQ. We were on site for the competition, and watched as Team TUM, from the Technical University of Munich, took home the win thanks to achieving the top speed overall of any team to run in the finals.

TUM (formerly known as team WARR Hyperloop in past competitions) is a repeat winner, and achieved a top speed of 288 mph in this year’s finals. That’s the fastest overall for a Hyperloop pod thus far – it beat its own record from last year of 284 mph set during the third SpaceX student run-off. It wasn’t without incident, however – near the end of its run, there was a spark and some debris appeared to fly off the craft, but it still survived the run mostly intact and satisfied SpaceX judges to qualify for the win.

TUM beat out three other finalist competitors, including Delft Hyperloop, EPFL Hyperloop, and Swissloop. Delft unfortunately had a communication error that cut their run short at just around 650 feet into the just over 3/4 mile SpaceX Hyperloop test track. EPFL managed a top speed of 148 mph and Swissloop topped out at 160 mph.

SpaceX Hyperloop Pod test track at its Hawthorne HQ. This is the end where student teams load in their test pod during the annual competition.

For the teams that did get to run on Sunday, the process involved loading their pod, which are roughly the size of bobsleds but little more than engines on wheels, onto the single track which runs the length of the interior of the Hyperloop test tube. The tube is then sealed and de-pressurized to near vacuum, which is essentially how Musk’s original Hyperloop concept …

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Elon Musk’s Boring Company is cranking up its hiring machine

Elon Musk’s Boring Company is cranking up its hiring machine

July 2, 2019

Elon Musk’s tunneling and transportation startup The Boring Company (TBC) is ramping up hiring about six weeks after landing a $48.7 million commercial contract to build and operate an underground “people mover” in Las Vegas.

The company’s website has posted more than a dozen new job openings in Las Vegas, as well another 15 at its headquarters in Hawthorne, California. That’s a tiny number of jobs when compared to openings at Musk’s two other companies, SpaceX and Tesla. Still, it shows the company is attempting to scale up and move beyond the status of Musk pet project. (TBC hasn’t publicized how many people it employs; estimates from various sources put it at more than 80 people, although there’s evidence of overlap between SpaceX and TBC.)

After receiving approval from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, TBC secured the contract in May to build an underground loop system that shuttles people.

The initial design for the project, dubbed Campus Wide People Mover, or CWPM, will focus on the Las Vegas Convention Center, which is currently in the midst of an expansion that is expected to be completed in time for CES 2021. The newly expanded Las Vegas Convention Center will span about 200 acres once completed. The people mover is supposed to be complete and ready for customers by December 2020.

This underground people mover will involve the construction of twin tunnels for vehicles and one pedestrian tunnel, according to contract documents. The twin tunnels are expected to be less than a mile. There will be three underground stations for passenger loading and unloading and an elevator or escalator system for passenger access to each station.

TBC is …

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