It looks like the Las Vegas Strip has underground competition. The Boring Company, Elon Musk’s other idea, offered free rides through their futuristic, neon-lit tunnel system in Sin City this week before the official launch in June.
The company sent a few dozen Teslas along the twin tunnels that were being built under the Las Vegas Convention Center. The free rides offered to Las Vegas residents last week were designed to test the traffic capacity of the tunnels prior to rollout.
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In summary, the Las Vegas Convention Center loop includes approximately 2.7 miles of tunnels 9 meters deep. It has a total of three stops: the two stations at either end are above the ground while the middle stop is below.
Frustrated with LA traffic, Musk founded the Boring Company in 2016 to implement his vision of a fleet of autonomous vehicles that can be easily called via an app and fly through the tunnels at 250 mph. In this way, congress attendees can quickly navigate the site. In fact, the company claims the loop will eventually turn a 45-minute walk into a two-minute drive.
Videos of the test drives have surfaced on social media, offering the first real glimpse into the literally groundbreaking infrastructure since the tunnels opened to the press in April. As it stands, there is still a bit of tweaking required.
The company used a number of Tesla vehicles for the experiment, including a handful of Model 3 sedans and a few Model Y and X SUVs. Passengers did not appear to be using an app; Instead, they just went to the nearest available Tesla. In one video, a test driver said he had to wait three to five minutes for a car and there definitely seemed to be a small overload.
The story goes on
On board, the passengers were pushed back and forth between the stations, and most testers made between seven and twelve trips, as The Verge reported. What they experienced, while still impressive, was not an autonomous fleet moving at high speed. Instead, trained drivers steered the electric vehicles through the tunnels at limited speed, with most of the clips showing the cars sitting at 40 mph. While this is a far cry from Musk’s endgame, a video appears to show a Tesla reaching 116 mph.
The goal of The Boring Company’s $ 52.5 million project is to get 4,400 people an hour through the loop tunnels of the convention center. The company has also expressed an interest in building subway loops in several other major cities, including Miami. Of course, there are regulatory hurdles that the company first has to overcome. But if the Vegas trials are any indication, Musk’s dream seems at least one step closer to reality.
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