Tesla is well-known for coming up with some incredibly creative ideas. However, these ideas sometimes don’t come to fruition, as Musk has found out recently with the full self-driving feature. Sometimes Tesla reaches for the stars, literally in the case of SpaceX and the contract to provide lunar landers to NASA, but forgets about smaller, less flashy, but critical, details. That brings us to security measures for the underground tunnel transit systems that The Boring Company (TBC) has been working on. Security is important in preventing rogue cars from driving into TBC tunnels, such as the Las Vegas Loop.
The (not) Boring Company
Created as a subsidiary of SpaceX and founded by Elon Musk, The Boring Company is a tunnel and infrastructure construction company. Musk, like most people in California, had complaints about the LA traffic. So, he created TBC to build tunnel systems designed for inner-city transit, or “loop” systems, that could eventually transition to Hyperloop transportation. So far, TBC has finished a test tunnel in LA and a working tunnel in Las Vegas. TBC is currently working on adding direct tunnel access to some of the casinos in Vegas. They are working on approval to connect to McCarran International Airport and Allegiant Stadium.
There has been much criticism of the tunnels, particularly after the Vegas tunnel opened and did not meet the promised outcomes. The Vegas loop is currently only a single-lane underground roadway, driven by normal Tesla vehicles, and is only one mile long. Many critics believe it would be more efficient and much more cost-effective to invest in public transit and other ways to manage traffic, such as tolls.
Additionally, there have been multiple safety concerns with the tunnels lacking important features such as ventilation systems, fire suppression systems, and emergency exit corridors. Additionally, since they are only being designed with one road, if there were an accident, mechanical failure, or another type of traffic obstruction, the entire tunnel would be shut down since there would be no way for drivers to pass the obstruction. There are also no physical barriers preventing rogue cars from entering the tunnel, which TBC recently found out was actually a pretty important and overlooked detail.
An unauthorized driver drove their Tesla into the Las Vegas Loop
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a driver breached the Convention Center Loop transit system back in June, although this was not immediately reported to the public. The tunnel was immediately shut down, and there were no injuries or damage. The Boring Company reportedly took immediate action to ensure unauthorized vehicles cannot access the system, with additional unspecified mitigation measures.
They were just looking for a charging station
Thankfully, the car did not enter the Las Vegas Loop tunnel for any nefarious purposes. The driver was trying to find a charging station for their Tesla. They cooperated fully with the authorities and the investigation into why they drove into the tunnel. Operation of the tunnel was resumed, and presumably, no charges were filed.
Musk and the various companies he is part of are no stranger to safety complaints. In fact, the Tesla Model 3 was removed from Consumer Report’s “Top Pick” list due to the removal of radar, which defeated the purpose of several safety features. Additionally, there have been multiple reports of crashes involving Tesla’s Autopilot feature. Interestingly, these crashes often involve first responder vehicles, which are probably at the top of the list of worst vehicles and drivers to crash into.
Tesla and Musk will likely never stop developing creative, sometimes seemingly impossible, ideas, which is not bad as long as they remember all those pesky little details, especially those concerning safety.