The Las Vegas Convention Center continues to expand, including the underground transportation system provided by The Boring Company. The company has just completed the digging of the second tunnel, marking the end of the first phase of the project.
Now, the focus will be on completing ground passenger stations at on either end of the tunnels as well as on the third underground station in the center of the system, according to The Verge. The opening of the Convention Center Loop is scheduled for January 2021 in time for the next Consumer Electronics Show.
The Convention Center Loop will be the first working commercial transport project of The Boring Company. The tunnel system is designed to transport congress participants from one end of the Convention Center to the other at a distance of 0.85 miles. Most impressive is that in just 1 hour, in the underground transport system, with the help of Tesla vehicles, up to 4,400 people can be transported. The duration of the trip will be about 1 minute.
Boring’s first tunnel project should consist of a Loop system with two adjacent tunnels, that will connect the New Exhibit Hall building to the South and North/Central Hall.
Typical walk time between those two locations can take up to 15 minutes. “To walk from one end of our campus to the other is going to be about a mile and a half,” LVCVA President and CEO Steve Hill said, “That's just too long for some, and a lot of people just don't want to do it.”
The Loop transportation system will use autonomous electric vehicles, also known as AEV. These vehicles are composed of a modified Tesla Model 3 chassis to transport up to 16 passengers with both sitting and standing room.
These cars will eventually travel through the tunnels autonomously, but start with drivers, says Steve Hill, the CEO and president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
After that, the vehicles will follow “conduit” and sensors that are being laid in the tunnels - so they’ll appear to be autonomous but won’t actually be driving themselves. “Whenever we get to the point where we know that [it’s safe to let the vehicles drive themselves],” Hill said, “that’s when we’ll take that step. But there is not a deadline for making that happen.”
Hill also said that the project has so far not been affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. But if Consumer Electronics 2021 is canceled or postponed, he said that LVCVA and The Boring Company will wait until the next available exhibition to open Loop to the public. Nevertheless, he says that if necessary, the car will be used to move LVCVA employees from one end of the campus to the other.
Loop is designed to be convenient for both visitors and potential customers. It will also be offered as a free service.
“It’s here for the benefit of the [trade] shows, so it’ll ramp up capability while [they’re] here,” said Hill. “Between those times, it’ll ramp way back down to a car or two available if somebody needs one.”
He said LVCVA and The Boring Company will use the time between the completion of the construction of the tunnels and their opening to the public to test the technology. He said that ideally, LVCVA would eventually find a way to use The Boring Company technology to support other transportation options to the city of Las Vegas.
“We’ve got a growing city and growing tourism base and we need all the options that are reasonably available in order to move folks, so we think all of those different options are important to maintain,” he said. “And this is just going to be one more really fun one to add to the list.”
Featured image: Boring Co.
H/T Alex Catrey/TwitterFollow @EvaFoxU