This Looks Like a Tesla-Built Shuttle Prototype for The Boring Company
This video reveals a Tesla steering wheel and a totally transparent glass greenhouse.
The Boring Company was built on the promise of revitalizing public transit's image. Gone would be the views of rat-laden subway systems and overcrowded buses. Instead, it believes there should be visions of modern battery-powered shuttles cruising along in tunnels lit like raves... or that's the idea, anyway.
Elon Musk, The Boring Company's founder, conceptualized lightning-fast autonomous buses that would transport loads of passengers around various urban loops, eliminating the hell that is above-ground traffic. Musk even showed off a video with concepts of these shuttles back in 2018. It would appear that The Boring Company may have gone above and beyond just concepts, though, as video of an alleged Tesla-built shuttle prototype has emerged on Musk's own social media platform.
The poster of the video called the vehicle a "secret Tesla van prototype designed for Elon Musk's Vegas Loop." It pans over an open-area shuttle—loose framing with lots of glass covering every wall and the ceiling. Eleven total passenger seats with their backs against the glass line each side of the vehicle. It has a single seat for the driver with a large display and steering wheel positioned directly in front of the seat. Looking closely will reveal a Tesla logo on the center of the wheel.
We want to be clear—the actual purpose, location, and construction of this vehicle can't be verified. The Boring Company also did not return The Drive's request for comment at the time of writing, meaning the company itself has not confirmed or denied if the vehicle belongs to them.
However, there have been signs that Tesla has been looking to expand into "high passenger-density urban transport" since at least 2016. Elon Musk has also previously said that The Boring Company would prioritize people over cars, meaning a transportation device capable of carrying more people than its three-passenger Tesla sedans would need to make an appearance at some point for that goal to be fulfilled. It would also make sense for two Musk-fronted companies to bolster one another's businesses with shared technology, R&D, and purchasing powers.
Likely, this vehicle isn't a new creation from Tesla. The shuttle shown in the video is likely an early engineering prototype that still lives at TBC's Las Vegas location. In fact, the prototype vehicle may have existed as far back as 2019 or earlier, as revealed by one Reddit commenter who claims that they saw it at The Boring Company's headquarters when they interviewed for a position in 2019.
The original video of The Boring Company's shuttle concept can be seen on Twitter by clicking here.
You might be wondering why Tesla, the company whose CEO has promised that it will solve self-driving "next year," every year since 2014, gave the concept vehicle a steering wheel. When the Las Vegas Loop first opened for business, it was prohibited by local regulators to operate with any sort of driver assistance system, meaning that a real person needed to be in control of the vehicles at all times. This was loosened in 2021 to allow The Boring Company to begin testing Tesla vehicles with Autopilot enabled in its tunnels, and in 2022, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President Steve Hill said that it may soon begin testing autonomy "relatively soon," though not by the end of the calendar year.
So for now, this presumable one-off prototype is still a thing of mystery. The Boring Company hasn't acknowledged its existence, at least not publicly. Nor has Tesla. However, the vehicle layout, previous company goals, the caption of the video, and the lone Redditor noting its existence four years ago would indicate that it's nothing more than an unrealized dream—at least for now.
One would have to wonder about the possibilities if there were a dozen of these shuttles all chained together. Maybe they could run through The Boring Company tunnels at high speeds to avoid traffic while carrying a large number of passengers. And the loop already has stops located at convenient locations, so creating a schedule where people could just walk on and off at regular intervals seems ideal. It all sounds pretty familiar, doesn't it?
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