Watch Teslas slowly move through Elon Musk’s new Boring Company tunnel under Las Vegas

boring company tunnel tesla
A modified Tesla Model X drives into the tunnel entrance before an unveiling event for the Boring Co. Hawthorne test tunnel in Hawthorne, California, U.S., on December 18, 2018.

  • Some of the first videos of Elon Musk’s Las Vegas tunnel hit the web on Thursday.
  • Members of the media were invited to check out the tunnel ahead of its summer launch.
  • The tunnel loop under the Las Vegas Convention Center spans 1.7 miles and has three stops.
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The Boring Company’s Las Vegas tunnel system is nearly up and running, and initial videos of the network in action hit the web on Thursday.

Elon Musk’s tunneling firm invited members of the media to check out the 1.7-mile-long loop that runs beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center ahead of its debut this summer. And clips from the event show that the underground transportation network functions essentially as the billionaire described: “basically just Teslas in tunnels at this point.”

Videos shared online show a parade of slow-moving Teslas dipping in and out of tunnels and driving around stations. The system is illuminated up by color-changing lights, making the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop look equal parts transit network and night club.

The LVCC Loop has three stops that span the convention center’s sprawling 200-acre campus. The people-mover – serviced by Teslas that customers can hail through an app – cuts a 45-minute walk across the convention center to a roughly two-minute ride, according to The Boring Company. The Teslas will travel at up to 35 mph, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports.

Despite Musk’s claim that the loop is “way more profound than it sounds,” the system may not live up to all the hype.

It is meant to shuttle up to 4,400 passengers per hour, but documents obtained by TechCrunch in October show that the $52.5 million loop may only be able to accommodate 1,200 people due to fire regulations. And although The Boring Company has said it plans to service its tunnels with self-driving, high-capacity Tesla vehicles, the LVCC Loop is starting out with normal Teslas that require drivers.

Detractors say that makes The Boring Company’s projects little more than reinvented subways with significantly less passenger capacity. Critics also point out that The Boring Company’s noble aim of building congestion-alleviating tunnels under cities worldwide ignores the phenomenon of induced demand, which says that more roadways – even underground ones – will give way to more cars.

The LVCC Loop will be operational by June, according to the authority that runs the convention center. The Boring Company aims to expand the system to other Las Vegas destinations, including the airport and downtown. It is also in talks with Miami officials for a similar project there.

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Nearly a dozen major tech firms can trace their roots to PayPal. From Palantir to Tesla, here are the companies launched by members of the ‘PayPal Mafia.’

Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel, left, and Elon Musk.

  • Early employees of payments company PayPal went on to create nearly a dozen major tech startups after leaving the company.
  • The PayPal Mafia, as its early employees came to be known, were directly responsible for Tesla, SpaceX, LinkedIn, Yelp, and more. 
  • The latest company with PayPal roots to make a major splash is Palantir, the big data company that went public on the New York Stock Exchange in October. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Without PayPal, there may not have been Palantir. Or YouTube. Or SpaceX, LinkedIn, and Yelp. 

The payments company – launched as Confinity in 1998 by Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, and Luke Nosek – grew to become a Silicon Valley giant. It was acquired by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion in a deal that altered Silicon Valley history and helped spawn the careers of some of tech’s most famous names.

The PayPal Mafia, as its early employees came to be known, have gone on to become venture capitalists, tech founders, and even a US ambassador

Here are the tech companies that may not have gotten their start without the success of PayPal. 

Secretive data company Palantir was founded in part by Peter Thiel, PayPal’s cofounder.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 01: Peter Thiel, Partner, Founders Fund, speaks at the New York Times DealBook conference on November 1, 2018 in New York City.
Peter Thiel.

When it was founded: 2003

What it does: Palantir creates software that manages and analyzes data. Its software helps other companies and agencies like law enforcement find patterns in large swaths of data.

How it’s related to PayPal: Thiel founded Palantir after PayPal’s sale to eBay, and the idea for the company was born out of Thiel’s experience dealing with credit card fraud at PayPal. 

Joe Lonsdale, who worked as a finance intern at PayPal while still in college at Stanford University, is also a Palantir cofounder. 

Affirm was launched by Max Levchin, a PayPal cofounder.

Max Levchin

When it was founded: 2013

What it does: Affirm offers instant lines of credit to customers shopping online, allowing them to buy a product and pay for it over time. The company raised a $500 million Series G round last month.

How it’s related to PayPal: Affirm is the brainchild of Max Levchin, one of the original PayPal founders. The company launched out of Levchin’s startup incubator, HVF — Levchin took over as CEO in 2014.

Levchin founded the company along with a team that includes Nathan Gettings, who also cofounded Palantir. 

Fertility tracking company Glow was also born out of Levchin’s startup incubator.

Max Levchin

When it was founded: 2013

What it does: Glow makes a family of apps that use data science to help track periods, ovulation, fertility, pregnancy, and children’s’ growth. 

How it’s related to PayPal: Glow was also founded in Levchin’s HVF startup incubator, and Levchin now serves as executive chairman. 

YouTube’s founders worked together at PayPal during the early days.

YouTube founders
YouTube founders Steve Chen, left, and Chad Hurley.

When it was founded: 2005

What it does: YouTube is a platform for hosting and sharing videos. It was sold to Google in November 2006.

How it’s related to PayPal: Founders Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim were all early employees at PayPal.

When PayPal sold to eBay for $1.5 billion, it sparked a “healthy competition” among the company’s alumni, early YouTube investor Roelof Botha told Business Insider earlier this year. When it came time for YouTube to sell, the team intentionally chose a price of $1.65 billion — 10% more than what eBay sold for. 

Elon Musk founded SpaceX after working at PayPal.

Elon Musk SpaceX Space X
Elon Musk.

When it was founded: 2002

What it does: The goal of SpaceX, short for Space Exploration Technologies, is to make space flight cheaper and eventually colonize Mars. 

How it’s related to PayPal: In 1999, Musk launched an online banking company called X.com. That company merged with Thiel’s Confinity in 2000, then became PayPal in 2001. Musk was briefly PayPal CEO before being replaced by Thiel. But when PayPal sold, Musk netted $165 million from the deal, which he used to start SpaceX. 

Musk was an early investor in and cofounder of Tesla.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk introduces the falcon wing door on the Model X electric sports utility vehicles during a presentation in Fremont..JPG
Elon Musk.

When it was founded: 2003

What it does: Tesla manufactures electric vehicles, batteries, and solar panels. 

How it’s related to PayPal: Musk was an early Tesla investor and cofounder. He became CEO in 2008

Musk launched The Boring Company after becoming irritated by Los Angeles traffic.

Boring Company Hawthorne tunnel
The Boring Company’s Hawthorne Tunnel.

When it was founded: 2016

What it does: The Boring Company builds underground tunnels with the intention of housing high-speed transit systems to reduce traffic in cities. 

How it’s related to PayPal: Musk initially proposed The Boring Company in a white paper in 2013 and launched the company three years later. 

Musk also created OpenAI and Neuralink.

Elon Musk

When they were founded: 2015 and 2016, respectively

What it does: OpenAI is an artificial intelligence research lab, while Neuralink’s goal is to make computers that can be implanted in people’s brains.

How it’s related to PayPal: Musk founded both companies to fight against what he sees as the dangers of AI.

LinkedIn was founded by early PayPal exec Reid Hoffman.

reid hoffman
Reid Hoffman.

When it was founded: 2002

What it does: LinkedIn is a social network for professionals. 

How it’s related to PayPal: Hoffman was an executive vice president at PayPal in its early days. He founded LinkedIn and initially served as its CEO before later becoming executive chairman. 

Yelp was founded by two early PayPal employees, Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons.

Jeremy Stoppelman
Jeremy Stoppelman.

When it was founded: 2004

What it does: Yelp is a platform for hosting reviews and recommendations about local businesses. 

How it’s related to PayPal: Stoppelman and Simmons met while working at PayPal in the early 2000s — Stoppelman came from X.com and served as vice president of technology while Simmons worked as an engineer. Levchin provided the initial investment in the company. 

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