Chicago Picks Musk's Boring Co. for O'Hare Express Service

Chicago Picks Musk's Boring Co. for O'Hare Express Service

Conceptual drawing of the Block 37 superstation, when completed as the downtown terminal for The Chicago Express Loop, a high-speed public transit system to O'Hare International Airport.

Electric pods called skates will run on rails under the city, each capable of carrying between 8 and 16 passengers at up to 150 miles per hour (240 km/h).

Chicago leaders have talked for more than a decade about a high-speed route between O'Hare and downtown, but it has yet to materialize.

"We're really excited to work with the mayor and the city to bring this new high-speed public transportation system to Chicago!" the company said on Twitter. The Boring Company claims that their technology will be capable of transporting people from O'Hare Airport to Block 37 in downtown Chicago in just 12 minutes.

If you're planning to fly into Chicago's O'Hare International Airport at some point in the future, you might be pleasantly surprised by the transit options. That should get passengers to the airport in about 12 minutes-still a significant improvement on current options, which often take about 40 minutes by train or auto. Each skate can accommodate between 8 and 16 passengers, with one leaving each station as often as every 30 seconds.

Elon to the rescue: The city's deputy mayor, Bob Rivkin, actually name-checked Musk previous year when the city issued the request, saying "The RFQ is agnostic about whether this is a surface or sub-surface system".

Musk has proposed a similar airport connector for Los Angeles, and has promised to offer rides in the test tunnel sometime this year.

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Musk, who started The Boring Company in 2016 with the goal of combatting LA's "soul-destroying" traffic, is promising to make tunneling cheaper and faster, and to radically rethink the vehicles carrying passengers. That technology would be designed for longer distances, like, say, Chicago to NY.

Musk is banking on being able to tunnel much faster than any other company, although his technology remains unproven.

"Given his track record, we are taking his reputation and saying, "This is a guy in two other transportation modes who has not failed". Unlike the Hyperloop, a vacuum-sealed tube being built out by companies such as Virgin Hyperloop One and theoretically capable of speeds up to 600 miles per hour, the Chicago project will be designed with conventional tunnels at much slower speeds.

The planned Chicago system will feature what the company calls "electric skates", which are vehicles based on Tesla's Model X SUV.

The company said it will fund the project in its entirety, and that it plans to collect ticket and advertising revenue.

Emanuel's office said Chicago will negotiate directly and only with The Boring Company for a deal that will eventually be revealed to the City Council.

This comes about a month after Musk announced a plan for a high-speed network of "personalized mass transit tunnels" under Los Angeles. Boring Co. leaves room for the possibility of cars using the system, too.

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