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Elon Musk digs into his fixation with tunnels

Car tunnel
An animation shows an automobile being lowered into a transit tunnel system on a “car skate” while other cars zoom by. (The Boring Company via YouTube)

When billionaire Elon Musk sat down for a 40-minute TED talk last week in Vancouver, B.C., he could have started out talking about SpaceX’s rockets, Tesla’s electric vehicles, his Hyperloop mass-transit concept, his role as an adviser to President Donald Trump or the Neuralink vision for implanting computer chips in our brains.

Instead, he began with a boring topic – as in boring tunnels underground.

“We’re trying to dig a hole under L.A.,” Musk told TED head curator Chris Anderson. “This is to create the beginning of what will hopefully be a 3-D network of tunnels to alleviate congestion.”

Musk said traffic congestion was “soul-destroying,” and “particularly horrible in L.A.”

He showed off a video concept that calls for platforms he calls “car skates” to lower vehicles into the tunnel system from surface streets. Down in the tunnel network, cars could ride the electric-powered, rail-borne skates at speeds of up to 130 mph.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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