The goal for The Boring Company is to beat Gary The Snail from Spongebob Squarepants
Musk said current tunnel technology literally doesn't even operate at a snail's pace. So he's put a target on the back of the most well-known snail in pop culture: Gary the Snail from SpongeBob SquarePants. "Currently he's capable of going 14 times faster than a tunnel boring machine," Musk said. "We want to beat Gary. He's not a patient little fellow. That will be victory. Victory is beating the snail."
Hyperlook technology could be used in underground tunnels
Since Musk is now associated with two different kinds of tunnel technologies — one being the underground transportation system, the other being the above-ground hyperloop — Anderson asked him to reconcile the two. Musk said that some hyperloop tech could be used underground since the tunnels are already designed to withstand five or six atmospheres — far more than what's needed to create the vacuum required for hyperloops to work. Musk believes underground hyperloops would be ideal for certain routes, like Washington, DC to New York City. "There's no real length limit," he said.
Musk isn't leaving Tesla anytime soon
The Boring Company is only taking up "maybe 2 to 3 percent" of Musk's time. "This is basically interns and people doing it part time," he said. Anderson then asked if Tesla has done enough for the electric vehicle market to make Musk comfortable with moving on. Musk said he sees himself staying with the company "as far into the future as I can imagine," because "there are a lot of exciting things that we have coming" including the Model 3 and the Tesla semi truck.
He still has aggressive timelines for Tesla's self-driving tech
Musk is known for playing fast and loose with the timelines for his grandest ideas. In the interview, he said Tesla is "still on track for being able to go cross country from LA to NY by the end of the year, fully autonomous" with one of its cars, "from a parking lot in California to a parking lot in New York, no controls touched at any point during that journey."
He also thinks Tesla's tech is about two years away from allowing a driver to sleep through entire rides. "The real trick of it is not 'how do you make it work 99.9 percent of the time,' because if a car crashes say one in a thousand times then you're probably still not going to be comfortable falling asleep," Musk said. Instead, he thinks the chance of a crash would have to shrink to one in 100 or 1,000 lifetimes in order for people to be comfortable enough with autonomous technology that they'd be willing to nap in a self-driving car.
Musk says shared autonomous cars are "100 percent what will occur"
A future full of self-driving cars might change how we think about ownership. Musk doesn't think owning a car will be completely out of the picture, but he believes sharing will play a big role.
"Absolutely this is what will happen: so there will be a shared autonomy fleet where you buy your car, and you can an choose to use that car exclusively, you could choose have it be used only by friends and family, only by other drivers who are rated five stars, you can choose to share it some times but not other times. That's 100 percent what will occur, it's just a question of when."