Elon Musk Outlines How His Chicago ‘Loop’ Transport Will Work

Elon Musk Outlines How His Chicago ‘Loop’ Transport Will Work

The promised project: A closed-loop pair of tunnels in Chicago's central Loop to the airport that would whisk passengers to their flights in 12 minutes, using autonomous pod-like vehicles, or electric skates, that would depart as frequently as every 30 seconds and carry up to 16 passengers and their luggage.

Chicago has selected billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's Boring Co to build a high-speed underground commuter system from the downtown Loop district to O'Hare International Airport, one of the world's busiest, the company and the mayor's office said.

The Boring Company plans to build terminals for its Chicago Express Loop connecting O'Hare airport and downtown Chicago.

Without providing a specific timeline, the Boring Company said it will take over the unfinished Block 37 superstation in the city, which the company said is an "amazing facility", according to the Chicago Sun Times.

"Bringing Chicago's economic engines closer together will keep the city on the cutting edge of progress, create thousands of good-paying jobs and strengthen our great city for future generations", the mayor said in a written statement.

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Autonomous electric vehicles known as skates would carry 8 to 16 people and their luggage on the 18-mile trip between O'Hare and Block 37 in about 12 minutes, reaching a top speed of about 150 miles per hour. Maryland's Department of Transportation gave conditional approval to the construction of a tunnel from Baltimore to Washington for a super-high-speed transportation system, The Washington Post reported in October.

The Chicago and Los Angeles projects come as Musk wrestles with production problems for the rollout of his highly anticipated Model 3 sedan at Tesla TSLA.O , with some investors concerned his overlapping leadership roles at Boring and his rocket-building firm SpaceX has him spread too thin.

Musk unveiled a plan last month in Los Angeles to build tunnels beneath the city for a high-speed network of "personalized mass transit", promising to build it without disturbance or noise at the surface.

Chicago was at least the third city to enter negotiations with company founded by Elon Musk to build subterranean transit.

Musk is banking on being able to tunnel much faster than any other company, although his technology remains unproven. The company has been digging under a SpaceX parking lot, while its application to dig a tunnel beneath Los Angeles and Culver City is caught up regulatory obstacles and legal challenges. "Almost like an autonomous, underground, multi-level auto system". This new train would take less than 15 minutes. A lengthy write-up in The Chicago Tribune says that the total cost of the project could be around $1 billion, according to unnamed sources with knowledge on the matter. If the Boring Company and Chicago reach a final deal, the project would be privately funded, but many other questions remain, because Loop has not been tested at scale.

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