Looks like the Las Vegas strip has some underground competition. The Boring Company, Elon Musk’s other brainchild, began offering free rides through its futuristic, neon-lit tunnel system in Sin City this week ahead of the official launch in June.
The company sent a few dozen Teslas along the twin tunnels that it’s constructed underneath the Las Vegas Convention Center. The complimentary rides, which were offered to Las Vegas residents last week, were designed to test the traffic capacity of the tunnels prior to rollout.
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To recap, the Las Vegas Convention Center loop comprises roughly 1.7 miles of tunnels that are 30-feet deep. It has a total of three stops: The two stations at either end are above the ground while the middle stop sits below.
— Melissa Vegas (@themelissavegas) May 27, 2021
Frustrated with LA traffic, Musk established the Boring Company in 2016 to execute his vision of a fleet of autonomous vehicles that could be easily summoned via an app and soar through the tunnels at 150 mph. As a result, convention-goers will be able to navigate the grounds at speed. In fact, the company claims that eventually, the loop will turn a 45-minute walk into a two-minute ride.
Videos of the test runs have surfaced on social media, offering the first real glimpse at the literally groundbreaking infrastructure since the tunnels were opened to the press in April. By the looks of it, there’s still a little fine-tuning required.
For the trial, the company enlisted an array of Tesla vehicles, including a handful of Model 3 sedans plus a few Model Y and Model X SUVs. Passengers didn’t appear to use an app; instead, they just walked up to the next available Tesla. In one video, a test rider said they had to wait three to five minutes for a car, and there definitely appeared to be a little congestion.
The Las Vegas Loop is running a capacity test today & will be smashing speed records for A-EVs 😁.
— A Boring Revolution (@BoringPrufrock) May 25, 2021
Once aboard, passengers were shuttled between stations and most testers took between seven to 12 rides, as reported by The Verge. What they experienced, though still impressive, was not an autonomous fleet moving at high speeds. Instead, trained drivers piloted the EVs through the tunnels at limited speeds with the majority of clips showing the cars sitting at 40 mph. While this is a far cry from Musk’s end game, one video does appear to show a Tesla hitting 116 mph.
The goal of The Boring Company’s $52.5 million project is to eventually transport 4,400 people per hour through the convention center’s loop tunnels. The company has also expressed interest in building underground loops in several other major cities, including Miami. There are, of course, regulatory hurdles that the company must clear first. But if the Vegas trials are any indication, Musk’s dream appears to be at least one step closer to reality.
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