Less than two hours after deployment, a self-driving bus in Las Vegas got involved in an accident.
According to a report from The Guardian, the self-driving bus developed by French company Navya was launched Wednesday on the roads of the so-called Innovation District in downtown Las Vegas. Dubbed as America’s first autonomous shuttle, the event was covered by local and foreign media and a few celebrities including Danica Patrick.
Unfortunately, things went sour for the brand new bus when, within an hour after its first couple of trips, the vehicle got into a collision with a delivery truck.#LasVegas self-driving bus met accident less than two hours after launch.Click To Tweet
It was supposed to drive along the near 1-kilometer loop around downtown Las Vegas and offer free rides to residents of the community and tourists. A representative of the City of Las Vegas, Jace Radke, issued the following statement regarding the accident:
“The autonomous shuttle was testing today when it was grazed by a delivery truck downtown. The shuttle did what it was supposed to do, in that it’s sensors registered the truck and the shuttle stopped to avoid the accident. Unfortunately, the delivery truck did not stop and grazed the front fender of the shuttle. Had the truck had the same sensing equipment that the shuttle has the accident would have been avoided. Testing of the shuttle will continue during the 12-month pilot in the downtown Innovation District.”
The Self-Driving Bus Accident: What Happened?
Because of the self-driving bus accident, many became skeptical about its safety and capability. However, Radke assured everyone that what happened is just part of the vehicle’s testing process. He went on to say:
“That’s the whole point of doing this, is to test it in traffic, see what happens when it’s introduced with moving cars and all those variables out there.”
Still, experts agreed that the incident was not the best outcome for a public launch, especially now that many tech companies and car manufacturers are pushing to place driverless vehicles in our future streets.
In fact, Google’s Waymo announced that it would also be launching its fully autonomous ride-hailing service, without any human driver behind the wheel in Phoenix, Arizona in the coming months.
According to the City of Las Vegas, their autonomous vehicle project hopes to get at least a quarter-million people, locals and tourists alike, to try the driverless technology.
The shuttle was made by the French startup Navya, a company owned and operated by the private transportation company Keolis. It seats eight passengers with seatbelts and has the capability to stop immediately, either manually or automatically, in case anything crosses its path.
The oval-shaped autonomous bus only has a computer display and is monitored by a human. There are no steering wheel or brake pedals, as well. It only uses electronic kerb sensors, GPS, and other technology to navigate roads at a max speed of 15 mph.