On Wednesday, Las Vegas became the first city in America to have a self-driving shuttle operating in real-time traffic.
However, in its first hour of service in downtown Las Vegas, the shuttle was involved in a collision with a delivery truck. The shuttle stopped to avoid a collision and was grazed by a delivery truck.
According to Las Vegas officials, the self-driving shuttle did what it was supposed to do in efforts to avoid the accident once its sensors detected the oncoming threat. But, while the shuttle stopped, the delivery truck did not.
The 12-passenger self-driving shuttle that has a maximum speed of 45km/h, but typically travels at around 25km/h,was built by a French company called Navya and sponsored by AAA was programmed to follow a half-mile loop through downtown Las Vegas and pick up passengers and a few designated points.
About an hour after the unveiling, the shuttle came upon a semi-trailer attempting to back into a loading bay that was perpendicular to the road and stopped short to let the truck do its thing. But the semi-trailer driver either didn’t see the little electric vehicle or expected it to back up, and the arc of his turn caused the tractor’s wheels to clip the front end of the shuttle. No one on board was injured.
Police ticketed the driver for illegal backing, but it is believed the whole thing could have been avoided had the truck had the same sensing equipment that the shuttle has. It remains true that one of the biggest hurdles for autonomous cars to overcome is the unpredictability of other human drivers.
Self-driving technology has been involved in crashes before, but almost all reported incidents have been due to human error.
Earlier this year an autonomous vehicle being tested by Uber in Arizona rolled over after another driver on the road failed to give way.
The bus is currently free and AAA,the sponsor will donate $1 to the Las Vegas Victims Fund for each rider that gets aboard the bus, starting with a $100,000 check.
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