On the 17th of December, 2016, the unthinkable happened. It was like a catapult to a futuristic world, a society 10 times more advanced than us that gave us all one less problem to worry about: traffic. And yes, I’m talking about Elon Musk’s Tweet about starting an underground tunneling company. Claiming he was bored, and in disdain of the standard big-city traffic of Los Angeles, he put his uniquely creative mind to work and came up with a solution: boring tunnels into the ground. The Boring Company aimed to stop people from becoming bored in traffic, a hypothetical utopia for commuters, but an impossible challenge for the common population of the world. A bit more than a year later, here we are in April 2021, with the very first underground transportation system under the Las Vegas Convention Center to help travellers, tourists, and locals alike avoid traffic.
Until recently, the whole idea behind the Boring Company was purely conceptual. Only a few people had seen demonstrations of Boring tunnels in action, and even those were pretty vague. From the plans that Musk initially released, I was expecting something like a conveyor belt that would automatically move cars around, with effective speed and safety playing major factors. Those plans also had a large system of moving belts that had many layers and, therefore, could have many cars driving on them.
Surprisingly, the current prototype below the Convention Center is vastly different from the original plans. The 1.5 mile loop of non-automated conveyor belt currently isn’t autonomous (can’t self-drive the cars around), and has just 3 stations, exists in stark contrast to the overwhelming budget of $50 million. Another saddening blow to those who looked up to Musk as a savior for time, and, needless to say, money, was that the promised 150 mph speed was revealed to be only 35 mph in this installation.
Plus, with the effective monorail system of Las Vegas already in use, it seems unnecessary to implement the current version of the Boring Company’s tunnels. The Las Vegas monorails are a 3.9-mile, driverless, mass transit connecting miles of Las Vegas with a fast and safe plan, a cost-effective solution for both the government and daily commuters. If Musk actually wants to make the Boring Company’s tunnels scalable and effective, he better get to work, and fast.
In summary, the very first Boring Company tunnel rides were, well, boring. After all the hype, I expected something extraordinary and out of this world, but it just ended up disappointing me. Maybe that catapult into the future that first came to my mind when I heard about this solution was missing a screw here and a bolt there. Until then, we have to wait and see what is in stock for Elon Musk and his brilliant, yet uncertain, idea.