Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

A self-driving shuttle launched in Las Vegas - it didn't go well

A driverless bus was involved in a crash hours after it was launched on Nov. 8 2017 A driverless bus was involved in a crash hours after it was launched on Nov. 8 2017
Heather Davidson | 12 November, 2017, 02:15

After considerable investment and months of preparation, a driverless bus has crashed in its first hour of service in downtown Las Vegas. Police determined that the shuttle stopped when it sensed a truck was trying to back up. The driver of the truck was cited by Metro. The shuttle, made by the French company Navya ARMA, began a route looping it around Vegas's downtown.

But, just an hour into its year-long trial (which follows a successful stint in January) the shuttle was hit by a delivery truck that was backing up.

A spokesperson for AAA, which is sponsoring the latest pilot program, said on Twitter that the accident was due to "human error" on the part of the truck driver.

This is not the first time that self-driving technology has been involved in a crash.

The shuttle can be boarded at any of the three stops located on Fremont and Carson Streets between Las Vegas Boulevard and 8th Street.

Created to carry up to 15 people at a time, the shuttle has a max speed of 45km/h and has been created to be fully capable of driving on public roads. To accommodate the shuttle, the city updated traffic lights and signals so they could communicate with the vehicle and adjust based on traffic flow.

The shuttle operates on a 0.6-mile loop around downtown Las Vegas and offers free rides to both locals and visitors. The shuttle is operated and maintained by Keolis, which also led the efforts to integrate its vehicle into the smart-city infrastructure, in partnership with the city of Las Vegas and NAVYA.

Nearly all the incidents recorded by Waymo, Google's autonomous vehicle arm, have been down to human drivers hitting the vehicles, and a major crash involving Uber's driverless cars in March was down to the driver of the other auto.

The AAA Free Self-Driving shuttle, an Arma vehicle built by Navya that utilizes LIDAR technology and Global Positioning System, was on a test run yesterday in the Fremont East neighborhood when it was hit by a delivery truck.

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