Self-driving shuttle crashes on maiden voyage

The driverless shuttle had come to a stop when the accident occurred.

An autonomous shuttle vehicle has been involved in a traffic collision in Las Vegas, just two hours after beginning operations.

Over the next year, AAA aims to give some 250,000 people free rides on the self-driving shuttle, which will run a 0.6-mile loop with three stops (and a safety driver onboard just in case).

The driver of the truck was cited for the accident.

A driverless shuttle made its debut in Las Vegas Wednesday with a bump. "Had the truck had the same sensing equipment that the shuttle has the accident would have been avoided".

While the accident is an unfortunate hiccup in Las Vegas's plan for innovative vehicles, there are a few lessons that cities can learn from this incident.

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"The autonomous shuttle was testing today when it was grazed by a delivery truck downtown", said a representative with the City of Las Vegas. The group will also survey riders before and after each trip to understand why the majority of Americans remain anxious about self-driving technology, and whether the shuttle experience changes their mind.

AAA, which sponsors the shuttle, has partnered with the city of Las Vegas, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, and Keolis North America on the project.

The shuttle is manufactured by NAVYA, comes equipped with LiDAR technology, GPS, cameras, and will seat 8 passengers with seatbelts.

The shuttle is the first of its kind in the United States, and Navya, the French tech firm behind the bus, is also performing test programmes in London and Paris.

The incident is sure to see some asking questions of the pace at which autonomous vehicles are entering public roads, given that Google's Waymo division is about to launch a fleet of autonomous taxis on the streets of Phoenix, Arizona.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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