University of Warwick: Warwick Boring team unveil tunnelling machine at Elon Musk competition in Las Vegas

A group of 27 students, known as the Warwick Boring Team are in Nevada, USA, competing in Elon Musk’s the Boring Company Tunnelling competition.

Current tunnelling machines are 14x slower than a snail, and cost from $100million to $1billion per mile, therefore the race to make a faster and cheaper machine is heating up.

Having been shortlisted as one of 12 teams out of nearly 400, the Warwick Boring Team aim to make our transport greener, cheaper and faster in future with their novel tunnelling machine, which will be competing against other top Universities including MIT, TUM and ETH Zurich, and industry tunnelling professionals.

With support from the School of Engineering, WMG, numerous other sponsors in the industry and the University of Warwick the students have made a machine that once scaled up the design is expected to be 80% faster than standard machines that typically dig one mile in 8-12 weeks. Moreover, the aim is to dig at a cost that is 10X cheaper than traditional machines that typically would cost $100m – $1bn per mile to construct tunnels we use today.

Sanzhar Taizhan, Founder and Co-Project Lead at Warwick Boring comments:Caption: The Warwick Boring team in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA Credit: University of Warwick
“After almost a year of creating, designing and building we are thrilled to see the machine here in the flesh and finished and finally in Vegas competing. The entire team have worked flat out for the last few months to get it together once we were allowed in the labs after the COVID-19 restrictions eased.

“We are so excited to see our machine working and see how it compares to other competitors. I am so proud of the team to making it to this stage no matter what the outcome is once we are out there.”

Tanner Hatzmann, the technical director at Warwick Boring adds:
“It would typically take years to create, design and build a novel machine, however we have been able to do it over the last year, even during lockdowns. The Warwick Boring tunnelling machine is exciting as it has – unique features here –. We cannot wait to see it in action and have everything crossed for a win.”

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