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The Importance of Boring

Discussion in 'TSLA Investor Discussions' started by Sancho, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. Sancho

    Sancho Member

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    In listening to the Swisher interview, the part I found most exciting was his description of the Boring Company. To summarize first principles on this:

    1. Humanity evolved by becoming more densely populated.
    2. We achieved that by creating 3D living and working environments.
    3. But our urban transportation system is 2D, which has created a bottleneck that will get worse.
    4. For 3D transport, we either go in the sky or in the ground, and transporting millions in urban areas in the sky has bad externalities (e.g. visual pollution).
    5. The opportunity for 3D transport in the ground is 100 fold.
    6. The only constraint to tapping that opportunity is the cost of drilling and constructing tunnels.
    7. The solutions to reducing that cost are similar to the issues of space exploration and other transit -- it's all about physics/math/engineering.
    8. Musk and his team are among the best in the world in solving these kinds of issues, and they are leveraging their experience in space and ground transit and batteries to solve the tunnel construction challenge.

    This is huge. Perhaps the biggest impact that Musk will have, among all the great advancements he will be responsible for, is solving the civilization bottleneck of a 2D transport system in a 3D environment.
     
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  2. decurro

    decurro New Member

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    What will the guy who invented the subway have to say about all this? Where is his 3D glory? He’ll argue his system wastes way less surface area and is much more cost effective. Not only that, his doesn’t encourage single passenger vehicle use.
     
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  3. Buckminster

    Buckminster Member

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    In London, this:
    [​IMG]

    Is just a fraction of this:
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Sancho

    Sancho Member

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    But “single passenger vehicle use” is the desired endgame. A transportation system needs to be measured by the time and personal energy required to get from any point A to any point B. A subway ride is not particularly attractive if I have to walk 10 minutes with my suitcase on both ends of the journey.
     
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  5. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Distributed Energy Enthusiast

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    Boring is for building cheap habitat on Mars. Elon is just getting US cities to pay for the beta testing.
     
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  6. jhm

    jhm Well-Known Member

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  7. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    I very much hope HyperSciences's (yes, Mr Lingui-purist knows this is awkward!!!) technology is not subjugated to the exclusive use of the military. I will admit it beats my decades-old dreams of being able to tunnel using plasma jet melting and (somehow) injecting the meltrock into the surrounding walls for strengthening the project. Not enough terawatts available is a niggling little stumbling block....
     
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  8. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    The value of the Boring Company is all predicated on the assumption that they can make substantial improvements in cost and speed over existing techniques. Drilling tunnels is not a new idea, and the value is well understood. I've not heard of any new ideas they have for improving the process at all. As far as I know they have no particular expertise in this area, and it is a vastly different subject than electric cars or rockets. Steve Davis comes from SpaceX, with degrees in Aerospace and Particle Physics. Not exactly an expert in tunnel boring like JB Straubel is for Tesla.

    Tesla had a unique technology that is letting them eclipse the established automakers. What is that technology for TBMs?
     
  9. Rarity

    Rarity Member

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    Tesla doesn't have much unique technology. However, it is an example of complex integration of available technologies into a compelling whole. SpaceX is another example of this with the Falcon 9, although it is now getting into some exotic technological territory where others haven't tread.

    TBC is another play at this. Complex integration of available technologies.
     
  10. mongo

    mongo Well-Known Member

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    Tunnel sized for single electric pod - less material to remove
    Placing wall segments while digging - increase in overall speed, automation of placement will speed install
    Increasing digging rate - this is the main one. Based on recent talk, current TBMs are no where near the limits of their digging speed
    Electric muck carts - eliminates ventilation requirements due to diesel engines
    Battery powered TBM - eliminates need for large power cables and transformers
     
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  11. jhm

    jhm Well-Known Member

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    FAQ — The Boring Company The FAQ covers this. The bullet points are pretty thin, however. I think they are keeping cards close to chest.

    Curiously, they have a job opening for a fluid power engineer. I wonder if they could be contemplating some water jet cutting tools. I think the key is to have AI direct the attack on rock face, selecting the right tools all along the way.
     
  12. Rarity

    Rarity Member

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    I noticed that too and believe that "fluid power" refers to hydraulics rather than water jet cutting tools.
     
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  13. mongo

    mongo Well-Known Member

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    Likely high force automation such as section placing and TBM movement (pistons pushing against the previous full and partial rings). Then there are the Brick presses, drilling face, and muck removal.

    May also involve the elevator system.
     
  14. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    This is really the only one that matters and what my comments were on. Boring speed is what drives the cost on current tunnels. The others were never bottlenecks to begin with. This is also the one that they haven't given any details on how they plan on doing. Its not like you can just turn up the speed knob on the TBM.
     
  15. mongo

    mongo Well-Known Member

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    That was a list of thing including new ideas that improve the process (overall).

    And, based on the recent Recode Interview, you can just turn up the speed knob (or upsize the pusher pieces and then turn the knob):
    TBMs are not hitting the thermal limit at the cutter, so you can just crank up the power (force) and go faster.
     
  16. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    So the question is then, if its that easy, why didn't anyone do it before? Its not like "more power!" is a difficult idea to come up with.
     
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  17. jhm

    jhm Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  18. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    Why not more power?

    Likely because, just as in building autos, there have been other bottlenecks - hauling material away, clearing tunnel of exhaust fumes, and so forth.

    Fix one bottleneck and the next one in line moves up the queue. Fix that and up pops #3. And so on.
     
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  19. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes innovation doesn't happen because the industry makes more money by not innovating.

    Also, the big projects have big tunnels. Part of Boring's approach is to have smaller tunnels to make it easier to dig. Or maybe that was just because those machines are cheaper so they can work with that, solve problems and then try to scale up.

    People need to ignore Elon's hype, but be happy that he has a company trying to do this.
     
  20. mongo

    mongo Well-Known Member

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    The longer a project runs, the more you get paid? No incentive for a tunneling company to go faster.
     

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