The Boring Company

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TBC – The Boring Company
IndustryGeotechnical engineering
Subterranean product development
FoundedJanuary 11, 2017; 6 years ago (2017-01-11)
FounderElon Musk
HeadquartersBastrop, Texas, U.S.[1]
Key people
Steve Davis (President)
OwnerElon Musk
Number of employees
<200[2] (April 2022)

TBC – The Boring Company is an American infrastructure and tunnel construction services company founded by Elon Musk. TBC was founded as a subsidiary of SpaceX in 2017, before being spun off as a separate corporation in 2018. TBC has completed one tunneling project that is open to the public, as well as a test tunnel.

In 2021, TBC completed the Las Vegas Convention Center, LVCC Loop, which is a three-station transportation system consisting of 1.7 miles (2.7 km) of tunnels. As of July 2023, a segment to Resorts World is also open, and tunnels to Encore and Westgate resorts are being finalized. The system is planned to expand to a total of 68 miles of tunnels in Las Vegas. TBC also completed one tunnel for testing in Los Angeles County, California. Many United States cities have expressed interest in building tunnels, such as Austin, Texas.


Elon Musk discusses the Boring Company at TED 2017.

Musk announced the idea of the Boring Company in December 2016,[3] and it was officially registered as "TBC – The Boring Company" on January 11, 2017.[4] Musk cited difficulty with Los Angeles traffic, and what he sees as limitations of its two-dimensional transportation network, as his early inspiration for the project.[5][6] The Boring Company was formed as a SpaceX subsidiary.[7] According to Musk, the company's goal is to enhance tunneling speed enough such that establishing a tunnel network is financially feasible.[8][9]

Elon Musk during the inauguration of the test tunnel in Hawthorne, California

In early 2018, the Boring Company was spun out from SpaceX and into a separate corporate entity.[10] Somewhat less than 10% of equity was given to early employees, and over 90% to Elon Musk. Early employees came from a variety of different backgrounds, including those from SpaceX.

The company began designing its own tunnel boring machines, and completed several tests in Hawthorne, California. The Hawthorne test tunnel opened to the public on December 18, 2018.[11]

In July 2019, the Boring Company sold US$120 million in stock to venture capital firms,[12] after raising $113 million in non-outside capital during 2018.[13] By November 2019, Steve Davis had become company president after leading efforts for Musk since 2016. Davis was one of the earliest hires at SpaceX (in 2003) and has twin master's degrees in particle physics and aerospace engineering.[14]

In November 2020, TBC announced hiring for positions in Austin, Texas, and by December 2020 had leased two buildings in a 14-acre (5.7 ha) industrial complex northeast of Austin, approximately 16 miles (26 km) north of Texas Gigafactory.[15]

On April 20, 2022, the company announced an additional $675 million Series C funding round, valuing the company at approximately $5.675 billion.[16] The round was led by Vy Capital and Sequoia Capital,[16] with participation from Valor Equity Partners, Founders Fund, 8VC, Craft Ventures, and DFJ Growth. Sometime before April 2023, the company moved their headquarters and engineering facilities to Bastrop, Texas.[1]

Currently, tunnels connecting different parts of the LVCC are open, and a tunnel to Resorts World started operating in July 2023.[17]

Boring machines[edit]

The boring machine in 2019

The first boring machine utilized by The Boring Company was Godot, a conventional TBM made by Lovat.[18][19] The company would later design their own line of machines called Prufrock.[20] Engadet reported that the Prufrock-2, which was unveiled in August 2021,[21] could dig up to a mile per week, whereas its successor, the Prufrock-3 is planned to dig up to seven miles per day.[22] In August 2023, the company announced that testing of Prufrock-3 had begun.[23][better source needed]


Hawthorne test tunnel[edit]

Tunnel built in Hawthorne

TBC built a 1.14-mile (1.83 km) high-speed tunnel in 2017 on a route in Hawthorne, California, at the SpaceX headquarters and manufacturing facility.[24] The tunnel roadway has an asphalt surface, a guide-way for autonomous vehicle operation, and supports car trips at speeds of 90 mph (140 km/h) with autonomous control and up to 116 mph (187 km/h) under human control.[25]

Las Vegas Convention Center[edit]

LVCC Loop System
LocaleWinchester, Nevada
United States
Transit typeDedicated taxi route
Number of lines1
Number of stations3
Began operation2021
Rolling stockTesla Model 3,
Tesla Model X
System length1.7 mi (2.7 km)

Convention Center[edit]

In May 2019, the company won a $48.7 million project to shuttle visitors in a loop underneath the LVCC[26] Boring of the first tunnel, 4,475 feet (1,364 m) long, began on November 15, 2019 and finished on February 14, 2020, excavating an average of 49 feet (15 m) per day.[27][28] In May 2020, the boring of the second tunnel was completed,[29] for a total of 1.7 miles (2.7 km) of tunnels.[30] The tunnel opened in October 2019.[31] Standard Tesla vehicles with human drivers are used as shuttles, traveling at about 35 miles per hour (56 km/h).[32] The service was described by Las Vegas Tourism as "an important step in the development of a game-changing transportation solution in Las Vegas".[33]

Testing with volunteers in late May 2021 showed the system could transport 4,400 passengers per hour,[34] though the highest announced traffic the LVCC Loop in an uncontrolled setting was in July 2021 at 1,355 passengers per hour.[35] The system started transporting convention attendees on June 8, 2021.[36] The tunnel was intended to provide trips of less than two minutes.[37] Designed to solve traffic congestion, it faced a number of traffic jams during busy events.[31][38][39][40]

Private tunnels to convention center[edit]

As of June 2020, two Las Vegas strip hotels, Encore and Resorts World Las Vegas, have private tunnels underway to allow direct access from the hotels to LVCC.[41][42]

Vegas Loop[edit]

In October 2021, Clark County Commissioners approved a 50-year franchise agreement for a 52-stop, mostly-underground system, a "16-mile dual loop system ... operating mainly in the Resort Corridor with stations at various resorts and connections to Allegiant Stadium, Brightline West Las Vegas Station, and the UNLV".[43] TBC planned to build five to ten stations during the first year, and then add approximately 16 stations per year thereafter.[43] The Boring Company would be responsible for funding the tunnel, while station costs would be funded by the resort properties and landowners.[44]

In May 2023, The Boring Company (TBC) was given permission to build the Vegas Loop underground transportation system to 69 stations for a tunnel network of 65 miles.[45][46][47] It would include the existing LVCC Loop and extensions to casinos along the Strip, Harry Reid International Airport, Allegiant Stadium, downtown Las Vegas, and eventually to Los Angeles. TBC claims that once complete, the Vegas Loop would be able to transport more than 90,000 passengers per hour.[48]

Projects under discussion[edit]

Inquiries and discussions have been held with Boring Company for various projects.

In February 2021, Miami mayor Francis Suarez revealed that Musk had proposed to dig a two-mile tunnel under the Miami River for $30 million, within a six-month timescale, compared with $1 billion over four years estimated by the local transit authority. Much of the savings would be achieved by simplifying ventilation systems and allowing only electric vehicles.[49] In the same month, the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority in California approved beginning contract negotiations with TBC to build a nearly 4-mile (6.4 km) tunnel connecting the Ontario airport with the Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink/Future Brightline West train station.[50]

In July 2021, Fort Lauderdale accepted a proposal from the Boring Company for a tunnel between downtown and the beach, to be dubbed the "Las Olas Loop".[51] As of August 2021, the city was beginning final negotiations with TBC.[52] Mayor Dean Trantalis estimated the total cost of the 5-mile (8.0 km) round-trip tunnel would be between $90 and $100 million, including stations.[53] As of December 2022, feasibility studies were expected to be completed by TBC by March 2023.[54]

In August 2021, a preliminary concept discussion was held with officials of Cameron County on the potential construction of a tunnel from South Padre Island to Boca Chica Beach in South Texas. If built, the tunnel be required to pass beneath the Brownsville Ship Channel.[55] It would allow SpaceX's Boca Chica facility to remain accessible if Highway 4, its sole access road, is closed.[56]

Inactive and cancelled projects[edit]

United States[edit]

  • Baltimore–Washington Loop – In 2017, Musk announced plans to build a Hyperloop connecting Washington, DC to Baltimore.[57] This was supplanted in 2018 by a proposal to build a route following the Baltimore–Washington Parkway.[58] The Maryland Transportation Authority officially approved the project.[59] In 2019, a draft Environmental Assessment for the project was completed.[60] As of 2021, the project was no longer listed on the company website.[61]
  • Chicago – In 2018, the company won a competition to build a high-speed link from downtown Chicago to O'Hare Airport.[62][63][64] As of 2021 the plan had been dropped.[65]
  • Los Angeles – In 2018, TBC proposed to develop a 2.7-mile-long (4.3 km) test tunnel on a north–south alignment parallel to Interstate 405 and adjacent to Sepulveda Boulevard.[66]: 25:50  Public opposition and lawsuits led the company to abandon the idea.[67][68] Also in 2018, the company proposed to build a 3.6-mile (5.8 km) tunnel called the "Dugout Loop" from Vermont Avenue to Dodger Stadium. As of June 2021, the project had been removed from TBC's website.[65]
  • San Jose – In 2019, a link between San Jose International Airport and Diridon station, was discussed as an alternative to an $800 million traditional rail link.[69] In 2023, concerns about TBCs financial condition led San Jose to cancel the project.[70][better source needed]


In January 2019, Musk responded to an MP regarding a tunnel through the Blue Mountains to the west of Sydney, suggesting costs of $750 million for a 31-mile (50 km) tunnel, plus $50 million per station.[71][72]

Promotional merchandise[edit]

In 2018, the company began offering 20,000 "flamethrowers" for preordering.[73] The "flamethrower" was a blow torch shaped to look like a gun and is legal in all U.S. states except Maryland.[74] In just a few days, all 20,000 "flamethrowers" were sold. After customs officials said that they would not allow imports of any items called "flamethrowers", Musk announced that he would rename them to "Not-A-Flamethrower" since the devices were in fact akin to roofing torches. Musk announced separate sales of a fire extinguisher, which he described as "overpriced... but this one comes with a cool sticker".[75]

Not-a-Boring Competition student contests[edit]

In 2020, TBC released rules for a student tunnel-boring competition. The first competition was held in Las Vegas in September 2021.[76] Officially named the Not-a-Boring Competition, the challenge was to "quickly and accurately drill a tunnel that was 30 m (98 ft)-long and 30 cm (0.98 ft)-wide."[76] SpaceX had earlier sponsored a Hyperloop pod competition in 2016–2019 for student teams,[citation needed] and had considered building a longer vacuum tube for a potential competition in 2020.[77][failed verification]

Applications were received from 400 potential participants. A technical design review left 12 teams that were invited to Las Vegas to demonstrate their engineering solution in a September 2021 competition. The winning team was TUM Boring from Technical University of Munich who managed to excavate a 22 m (72 ft) bore while meeting the requisite safety requirements. TUM Boring used a conventional pipe jacking method to build the tunnel, but employed a novel revolving pipe storage design to minimize downtime between pipe segments.[76]

A second competition was held in April 2023. New contest criteria required a 30 m (98 ft)-long 500 mm (20 in)-diameter, this time with a turn radius. Five teams from four countries — the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, and Switzerland — made the finals and journeyed to Texas to compete.TUM Boring again won with a design that reached a maximum velocity of 7 mm/s (0.28 in/s).[1] Swissloop Tunneling with a 3000 kg 8-meter-long machine named Groundhog Beta finished second overall and won the innovation award.[78]


Civil engineering experts and tunneling industry veterans questioned whether TBC could render tunnels more quickly and cheaply than competitors. Tunnelling Journal dismissed the company as a “vanity project”.[79]

Musk's planned tunnels were criticized for lacking such safety features as emergency exit corridors, ventilation systems, or fire suppression. In addition, the single lane tunnels left it impossible for vehicles to pass one another in the event of collision, mechanical failure, or other traffic obstruction, and instead would shut the entire tunnel section down.[80][81] The low capacity of TBC tunnels make them inefficient when compared to existing public transit solutions, with only a fraction of the capacity of a conventional rapid-transit subway.[82][83][84][85] Musk was criticized for his 2017 comments disparaging public transit.[86]

James Moore, director of transportation engineering at the University of Southern California, said that "there are cheaper ways to provide better transportation for large numbers of people", such as managing traffic with tolls.[85] Public transit consultant Jarrett Walker called TBC "wildly hyped", and criticized how the company that "dazzled city governments and investors with visions of an efficient subway where you never have to get out of your car, turns out to be a paved road tunnel."[84]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]