According to recent reports, Elon Musk’s Las Vegas underground tunnel is already showing its limitations as the Boring Company prepares to unveil it for CES in 2021.
Jalopnik reports Elon Musk’s tunneling firm The Boring Company has plans to unveil a new underground transportation tunnel for vehicles at CES in 2021, but already the limitations of this plan are beginning to show. The biggest competition Musk’s tunnel faces in the transportation sector is the Vegas monorail, which is already causing issues for Musk’s underground tunnel.
The Boring Company’s tunnel is reportedly at risk of damaging support columns for the existing Vegas monorail, combined with claims that The Boring Company’s transportation system will still require human drivers and won’t feature “electric autonomous vehicles with alignment wheels,” as previously claimed, things aren’t looking good for Musk’s latest project.
According to a report from TechCrunch, the Boring Company’s CES project will reportedly use modified Teslas to move “up to” 16 people at a time through the tunnel which is planned to be constructed under the convention center.
In May, the company released a video which revealed that it had abandoned the “alignment wheels” feature and instead had cars driving normally down a concrete-floored tunnel as according to Musk “this is simple and just works.” Musk has also claimed that all Tesla vehicles will be capable of full self-driving and will be able to serve as Robotaxis by next year — so why are human drivers required for CES in 2021?
Jalopnik’s Aaron Gordon raises some serious concerns about the tunnel and Musk’s other promises stating:
Not only does this lend serious doubts to the Tesla robotaxi promise, but it is also a definitive step backwards from better, existing technology.
Airport people movers, close relatives to whatever the hell The Boring Company is building in Las Vegas, have been driverless for decades. Just last month, for example, I had a lovely, quick journey on Denver International Airport’s driverless people mover, which opened in 1995.
Yet here we are, in 2019, and The Boring Company says they’ll need a driver for their people-mover which moves fewer people over a shorter distance for “additional safety.”
But, hey, 1 million robotaxis on the road by next year. If you can’t believe Elon Musk, who can you believe?
Musk’s Boring Company plans in China are also reportedly being called into question as some wonder whether it is practical or economically viable. Musk has plans to launch a Tesla Gigfactory in Shanghai by the end of 2019, now he has announced plans to launch a Chinese unit of the Boring Company. Musk tweeted that he would be attending the World Artificial Intelligence Conference of 2019 in Shanghai between August 29 and 31 and added that he “will also be launching The Boring Company China.”
Musk did not elaborate on plans for a Chinese offshoot of the Boring Company but did claim in another tweet that the Boring Company will begin creating underwater tunnels also. Tian Yun, vice president of the Beijing Economic Operation Association, told the Global Times on Sunday: “Some experimental projects in some regions might be launched, because local governments are willing to carry out high-profile programs like this. However, the prospects of making a profit are questionable.”
Zhang Guohua, the director of urban traffic research institute affiliated with the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, stated that public transport system in large cities need to be closely examined to determine economic viability, public demand, and safety. “Public transport programs should be people-oriented, rather than just considering technical breakthroughs,” Zhang said. “What public transport systems in China’s big cities need is to improve efficiency and quality.”
Zhang added that he believes it is unlikely that the Boring Company could succeed just by moving its business model to China.