Two Underwhelming Elon Musk Projects on Display at CES

Demonstrations at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas highlight the failures of Tesla's autonomous vehicles and the Boring Company's tunnels.

January 10, 2022, 10:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

According to an article by Alissa Walker, the failures of two highly anticipated Elon Musk projects were clearly articulated at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where Tesla's autonomous cars and Musk's Boring Company tunnels were both on display.

After the Las Vegas tourism agency paid Musk's Boring Company $50 million to build tunnels under the city's convention center, video posted on social media showed cars stuck in traffic inside the tunnel, described horrifyingly by Walker as "the world's longest MRI machine." The tunnel, which was supposed to turn a 20-minute walk into a one-minute ride, was designed—and contractually obligated—to shuttle 4,000 people per hour during major trade shows at the convention center. To date, the tunnel moves roughly 1,300 people per hour. Walker notes that this is "about the capacity of standard (and, often, autonomous) people-movers all over Vegas."

Meanwhile, as part of a presentation about LIDAR technology, Tesla's autonomous cars consistently failed to identify a child-sized dummy, hitting the "child" every time. The presentation was demonstrating pedestrian detection systems which industry safety experts agree should be robust and redundant on automated vehicles.

Last month, Tesla was forced to recall almost half a million of its Model 3 and Model S cars after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identified problems with the rearview camera and front hood, which could open without warning while driving. The agency is also investigating Tesla's autonomous driving features and other safety concerns.

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