Elon Musk and The Boring Company has unveiled a 1.14-mile test tunnel under Los Angeles to preview the billionaire’s planned ‘Loop’ transportation system.
At a glitzy event in Hawthorne, California held in front of a select number of fans and journalists, Musk revealed the completed test tunnel, bathed in colored lights and complete with a Tesla Model X shuttle offering rides along the tunnel’s length. The event also included demonstrations of the car elevators that will transport vehicles from ground level down to the tunnels.
Prior to the event, Musk had claimed that an automonous Model X would be responsible for shuttling attendees. However, the Model X used was instead manually operated and driven by an employee who once raced in the Indy 500, The Los Angeles Times reports. The vehicle traveled along tracks on the tunnel with the help of horizontal wheels that attach to the Model X’s front wheels.
Musk says that adding these wheels during assembly will cost $200 to $300.
Those that attended the event say the SUV was driven at up to 40 mph (64 km/h) before slowing down to 25 mph (40 km/h) towards the end of the tunnel. The ride was also quite bumpy.
“We kind of ran out of time. The bumpiness will not be there down the road. It will be as smooth as glass. This is just a prototype. That’s why it’s just a little rough around the edges,” Musk commented.
The Boring Company says that construction of the tunnel took approximately 18 months and cost roughly $10 million.
The Boring Company has evolved dramatically since its early days. Most significantly, the firm no longer intends on building 16-passenger pods which it said would ferry pedestrians and cyclists through the tunnels. Instead, the Loop will only support electric vehicles with autonomous driving capabilities. Such vehicles will reportedly be able to travel at up to 150 mph (241 km/h) through the tunnels.
The Boring Company Loop system pic.twitter.com/xVpDHzZKXB
— The Boring Company (@boringcompany) December 19, 2018