Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Elon Musk’s ‘Boring Company’ Plans for Underwhelming Las Vegas Transit System for CES 2021

Mark Harris, TechCrunch:

In May, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority approved a $48.7 million contract for The Boring Company (TBC) to design and build a short underground transit system at the city’s Convention Center, using Tesla electric vehicles running through narrow tunnels.

The ambitious contract calls for the system, called the LVCC Loop, to be up and running in time for the city’s biggest trade show, CES, in January 2021. Over the next 18 months, TBC has to construct one pedestrian tunnel, two 0.8-mile vehicle tunnels and three underground stations, as well as modify and test seven-seater Tesla cars to carry up to 16 people.

Aaron Gordon, Jalopnik:

Musk vs. The Monorail is absolutely the transit fight Americans deserve. But another part of the report jumped out at me: even these Teslas, running through a short, dedicated tunnel that is not set to open until 2021 at the earliest, will have human drivers:

Although TBC’s website states that the system would use autonomous vehicles, presumably using Tesla’s Autopilot technology, Labanowski [TBC’s government relations executive] said the LVCC Loop vehicles would actually also have human drivers “for additional safety.”

So, we’re supposed to believe Teslas will be capable of full-self driving in all conditions by next year even though, by the following year, a safety driver will be needed for a .8-mile tunnel with a dedicated right-of-way, the single simplest application of self-driving that could possibly exist.

When public transit works, it works really fucking well — so well that I threw a profanity in there to emphasize just how borderline magical it is that we’ve invented a way to efficiently transport many thousands of people every hour of the day in big cities. There are gripes that people have with their city’s transit system; if you live in a larger city, I’m sure you’re grumbling right now. But these problems are fixable through better funding and more effective city planning policies.

It does not confuse me why Elon Musk has started this company: it’s a billionaire fantasy business that allows him to sell more Teslas. What baffles me is that some cities have begun seriously considering his ridiculous car tunnel instead of refining the transportation methods we’ve already arrived at. What we have is imperfect, but it works; or, at least, it can work. What the Boring Company has consistently proposed is untenable to the point of mockery.