January 24, 2022

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Elon Musk’s Tunnel System Works, but the Real Test Is Still to Come

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(Bloomberg) — The CES technology show in Las Vegas last week was an important milestone for Elon Musk’s Boring Co., which operates a network of underground tunnels to ferry passengers around the massive convention center in Tesla Inc. cars.

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The Vegas Loop performed mostly well, despite hitting some snags that were caught on video and drew mockery on Twitter toward a company that has said its mission is to “solve traffic.” Another element of Musk’s initial vision also appears to be fading: The vehicles rely on human drivers behind the wheel, a stipulation that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

However, Las Vegas officials indicated they were satisfied with results last week. Numbers provided to Bloomberg by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority show that the transit system successfully transported some 15,000 to 17,000 people daily during CES, almost half the show’s attendees. According to the Boring Co., the average wait times at its three stations were less than 15 seconds. Rides took less than two minutes on average, in line with what the LVCVA predicted when reporters visited the site in April.

The numbers show a solid performance for Boring Co., though CES was hardly the rigorous tests of its systems some were hoping for. Because a Covid-19 case surge dramatically cut down attendance at the conference and shortened the event, many fewer people took the tunnels than otherwise would have. It remains to be seen how the system will hold up under radically higher demand.

The throughput and durability of the Boring Co.’s Las Vegas tunnel system—the company’s first commercial project—is important for few reasons. First, the startup is in negotiations with several cities around the country, all of which are probably eager to see how the startup’s technology performs in the real world before they sign a contract.

Second, the company’s compensation for the Las Vegas project is tied to how it…

2022-01-14 12:41:01

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