Published: Sun, November 12, 2017
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

Las Vegas' Self-Driving Bus Lasted 1 Hour Before Crashing

Las Vegas' Self-Driving Bus Lasted 1 Hour Before Crashing

The autonomous vehicle was at a standstill when it was struck by a delivery truck going in reverse.

Perhaps you missed it amid the muck and mire coming out of Washington and Hollywood these days, but a headline that caught my eye this week was that a self-driving shuttle in Las Vegas was involved in a crash in its first few hours of operation.

According to Jenny Wong, a passenger on the shuttle at the time of the crash, told local news station KSNV: "The shuttle just stayed still". No injuries were reported.

According to one of the shuttle's passengers, the collision seemed to happen in "slow-motion".

"What the autonomous shuttle bus didn't expect was that the truck would back up towards it", he said. The Tesla Model S, which was steering itself, slammed into the side of a truck in Florida in 2016, killing the driver.

Fortunately, there are plenty of early adopters who are willing to pay top dollar to be the first ones to own and experience new technology and work out the kinks for the rest of us.

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Police were called to the scene and the truck driver was issued a ticket, Moreno said.

"The shuttle did what it was supposed to do, in that its sensors registered the truck and the shuttle stopped", the city of Las Vegas said in a blog post.

No one was hurt in the 8-seater vehicle and the collision was blamed on the other - human - driver, but it was an inauspicious start to a year-long pilot held to probe the public's wariness of self-driving cars. The AAA said human error was responsible for more than 90% of the 30,000 deaths on USA roads in 2016, and that robotic cars could help reduce the number of incidents.

"We had about 20 feet of empty street behind us (I looked) and most human drivers would have thrown the auto into reverse and used some of that space to get away from the truck", Zurschmeide wrote. The shuttle is sponsored by AAA and Keolis, a French transportation company. "And a horn for the attendant would be a good feature, too", he said.

The autonomous bus made its debut on public roads around the so called Innovation District in downtown Las Vegas in front of cameras and celebrities, dubbed America's first self-driving shuttle pilot project geared toward the public.

"He probably had an expectation that the shuttle would back off and allow him to do his thing", Cummings said.

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