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30 Warwick students qualify for finals of Elon Musk’s tunnelling competition

A team of 30 Warwick students – known as the Warwick Boring team – are headed to Los Angeles this summer to take part in Elon Musk’s tunnelling competition organised by The Boring Company. It’s no small feat, as they’ve been shortlisted as one of the final 12 teams out of nearly 400 applicants, placing them in the top 3% worldwide following several selection stages.

The competition aims to speed up the race to make tunnels faster and cheaper. Current tunnel boring machines are 14 times slower than a garden snail and cost between $100 million to $1 billion per mile.

Innovative technology

Our student team has been busy working on their innovative tunnelling technology – The Boring Machine – to make our transport greener, cheaper and faster in the future. They’ll build their own prototype tunnelling machine, then demonstrate it and test it against competitors in the US later this year.

Once at the competition, which is taking place in summer 2021 near Los Angeles, the team’s prototype machine will be evaluated on how fast it could dig tunnels, demonstrating its ability to build a tunnel 30 metres long and 500 millimetres wide.

Warwick Boring team

The team is made up of STEM students from various fields including mechanical, electrical and system engineering, as well as physics and maths. They’re also supported by several industry experts as well as academics from Warwick, such as Dr Alan Bloodworth – an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering.

Sanzhar Taizhan, Founder and Co-Project Lead at Warwick Boring, said:

“We are still shocked by the result! The project is like a roller-coaster with ups and downs. We have spent hundreds of hours designing and engineering the product. The experience competing at extremely fast-pace competition and technical-orientated is invaluable. However, there is no time to rest, and we need to keep working hard on building the first prototype and do well in the summer. Our team are very talented and the University of Warwick is strongly helping us to achieve our goals. Anyone who is interested to support our team, please, feel free to reach out to us. We launched a crowdfunding campaign on our website.”

Professor Gill Cooke, Head of Teaching of the School of Engineering added:

“We are so proud of the achievements of the student-led team in qualifying. Working across different disciplines is an important life skill that we encourage at Warwick, and it is great to see students from different departments collaborating. We have made investments in workshops and build spaces for our engineering students and it is superb to see the skills in creativity and innovation they have learnt there being used to solve this real problem of importance to society."

Find out more about the Warwick Boring Team at:

Follow their progress on their social media channels:




See their Crowdfunding campaign:

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