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Elon Musk has plans to dig a tunnel beneath Las Vegas by 2021

Fear and tunneling in Las Vegas.

Elon Musk has plans to dig a tunnel beneath Las Vegas by 2021
[Image: courtesy LVCVA]

The Boring Company, which Elon Musk founded in 2016 to develop the infrastructure capacity to build tunnels–presumably for projects like the Hyperloop–has a new project on the horizon. But it’s not a Hyperloop. It’s a “people mover” that the company could design, build, and operate beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center within the next two years if approved.

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What exactly will it do? According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the system will be “a loop of underground express-route tunnels that could carry passengers in autonomous electric vehicles at high speeds.” In other words, it will deploy autonomous mini-buses to drive through tunnels.

[Image: courtesy LVCVA]

The LVCVA is planning the new transportation system to connect the different pavilions of the convention center, which is a sprawling 3.2 million square feet laid out across several buildings (and growing, thanks to a planned expansion). But the group says it could extend the system in the future to connect to the city’s downtown, the resort corridor, McCarran International Airport, “and beyond,” whatever that might mean. In a press release, LVCVA CEO and president Steve Hill said that Las Vegas “thrives on innovation and reinvention and the Boring Company’s concept allows us to continue providing the world-class experience our guests and clients have come to expect and move people in an efficient and cost-effective manner with advanced technology.”

But early reports of the Boring Company’s first test tunnel, which it unveiled to media in Los Angeles in December, have ranged from negative to extremely negative. Some described the experience as “riding on a dirt road.” Others criticize what the company’s system provides compared to existing train or subway technology. The project is still subject to city approval–but if it gets it, the city could see autonomous electric buses running through tiny tunnels by CES 2021.

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About the author

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce and a contributing writer at Fast Company.

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