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Hyperloops and Tunnel Boring Wormbots

Feb 22, 2018

The proposed "Hyperloop" (underground rail or tube for transport) between Washington DC and New York is gaining some needed traction to start construction. Preliminary excavation and hyperloop preparation has been granted by permit issued for the initial site at 53 New York Avenue NE in Washington's NoMa neighborhood.

Elon Musk’s Boring Company has also received a conditional permit to commence digging in Hawthorne, Maryland. The planned East Coast Hyperloop nears 275-miles in length and spans from Washington DC to New York, with stops in Baltimore and Philadelphia.

elonmusk-twitter.jpgUsing new tunneling technology recently applied in places like Cleveland, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, London, New York, Singapore and Washington, engineers have successfully dug cisterns, roads, sewer pipe ducts, and even railroads. These massive robotic worms have dug tunnels without ripping open homes, structures, lawns or streets, or even disturbing citizens above ground. 

Here’s the cool part: These new, large “wormbots” cost only $19 thousand per foot to operate, dramatically reducing total tunneling costs to roughly $27.6 billion. Conventional tunneling methods - utilizing human labor - cost approx. $1 million per foot, that's just under $1.5 trillion!

Further reading on how Musk’s tunnel boring will work »

We do not know how many of these wormbots will be utilized or expended during the project. But, we do know that a fraction of the more than $1.4 trillion saved in labor costs could go a long way to funding other projects requiring human workers, such as solar, wind and hydro power plants, or electric highways, or other areas of planned smart cities and smart homes or housing units. This is a very good example of proven technology proposed to be applied on a grander scale for multiple positive outcomes.

Watch this video on hyperloop transportation technology:

Watch on vimeo »

NECA Technology – the Project for Applied and Disruptive Technology, explores the world of technology and keeps members informed of what’s happening today, and of what will be launched in the not too distant future.  Dr. Joey Shorter has an extensive background in education and experience in translating the work of academics into understandable, practical ideas.