Attendees will soon be traveling at warp speed below the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC).

Elon Musk’s The Boring Company’s nearly $50 million underground autonomous electric vehicle (AEV) system at the expanding center was approved by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) Board of Directors.

The project, expected to be operational in time for the expansion’s unveiling before the Consumer Electronics Show in 2021, is as futuristic as it gets.

The 16-passenger AEVs will zip through a loop of express-route tunnels at speeds of up to 155 mph, carrying up to 4,400 passengers per hour.

“Las Vegas will continue to elevate the experience of our visitors with innovation, such as with this project, and by focusing on the current and future needs of our guests,” said Steve Hill, LVCVA’s CEO and president. “We’re excited about this opportunity with The Boring Company. It’s innovative, it’s fun and we think it will be a great experience for our customers.”

A Transportation Solution for Attendees

The expanded Las Vegas Convention Center Campus will span 200 acres, so conventioneers walking the facility from end to end would log approximately two miles. This created a need for an on-property guest transportation solution to move people around.

The typical walk time between the LVCC’s new exhibit hall and the existing halls can be up to 15 minutes. The same trip will take approximately one minute via TBC’s new AEVs, which will use a modified Tesla Model X chassis for higher occupancy and sitting and standing configurations.

The contract with TBC includes three underground passenger stations, a pedestrian tunnel and two vehicular tunnels with an expected total length of approximately one mile.

Las Vegas Convention Center Loop Station Proposed Locations
Las Vegas Convention Center Loop Station Proposed Locations

Following are other essential components of the project:

  • An elevator/escalator system for passenger access to each station
  • Pedestrian entrances and exits, and landscaping
  • Tunnel lighting, power and video surveillance systems
  • A fully equipped control room
  • Cellphone, Wi-Fi, intercom/PA, remote data and ventilation/life safety systems

The Boring Company's contract calls for an underground loop system that offers reduced total costs, less disruption to pedestrian and vehicle traffic, and faster construction time than traditional at-grade or above-ground options, according to the LVCVA.

Maximizing passenger and pedestrian safety is also a top priority. The loop will be designed for ridership of at least 4,400 passengers per hour and is scalable depending on LVCC attendance.

AEV People Mover System Revolutionizes Las Vegas Transportation

The Boring Company's Las Vegas Convention Center people mover has the potential to be used throughout the city, and it will significantly increase the destination’s competitive advantage, according to Bill Noonan, vice chairman of the LVCVA Board of Directors and senior vice president of industry and government affairs for Boyd Gaming Corp.

He likened the impact of the new people mover to the $70 million Freemont Street Experience, which transformed downtown Las Vegas when it was built in 1995.

“We see The Boring Company project in much of the same vein,” Noonan said. “It is truly one-of-a-kind … and people from all over the country are going to want to come and see it.”

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According to The Boring Company, future expansions can include service extensions to McCarran International Airport, hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, downtown Las Vegas and Las Vegas Stadium. In the long term, there is the potential to extend the service to Los Angeles.

Entrance to the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop Outside New Exhibition Hall
Entrance to the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop Outside New Exhibition Hall

The Future of Public Transportation Is Bright in Las Vegas

The Boring Company's people mover project on the Las Vegas Convention Center Campus is just one of the future-forward transportation developments that will impact Las Vegas.

In downtown’s Innovation District, which was launched in 2017 as a testing ground for future “smart city” technologies, a pilot test of an autonomous electric-powered shuttlebus service provided 32,000 rides in 2018. Meanwhile, 30 self-driving BMWs (with a safety driver) from partners Lyft and Aptiv attracted 25,000 rideshares.

The LVCVA’s approval of the TBC contract is a result of a multistep process that started in 2018 with a request for information to gauge interest. A request for proposal was then issued.

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Interviews with the selected finalists were conducted by an evaluation team that determined the recommended company.

The evaluation team comprised representatives from the LVCVA, private organizations that included a Las Vegas resort property and a consultant with experience in transportation systems, construction and operations of automated people-moving systems.

The Boring Company, founded by Musk in 2016, is a leader in innovative transportation technology. Its projects include a Research and Development (R&D) Test Tunnel in Hawthorne, California. The R&D Test Tunnel represents a fully operational, 1.14-mile loop system that cost less than $10 million per mile, including internal tunnel infrastructure, according to TBC.

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