Driverless Shuttle Hits Road for First Time, Crashes One Hour Later

Unmanned Vehicle Gets in Fender Bender One Hour After its Debut

The driverless shuttle that began its service In Las Vegas this week got off to a bit of a dented start when it was involved in a fender bender not more than an hour after it began its service life.

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The shuttle is called Navya, and its run by the AAA, along with a company called Keolis.   The shuttle was pressed into service at a more remote part of town, along a stretch of road called “Innovation District, on Fremont East in Las Vegas.  It appears a semi was backing into the shuttle and the shuttle didn’t know what to do when a semi starts backing into you.

No one was hurt, but the reputation of Navya, which, I imagine, will have to get some code tweaks before it heads back out on the open road.

From Tech Crunch

A driverless shuttle set free in downtown Las Vegas was involved in a minor accident less than an hour after it hit the streets, reported the local NBC affiliate KSNV. Not really the kind of publicity you want, or that self-driving cars need.

The shuttle, an egglike 8-seater Navya, is operated by the AAA and Keolis. It was a test deployment along half a mile of the Fremont East “Innovation District,” so this thing wasn’t cruising the strip. Probably a good thing.

Now, it must be said that technically the robo-car was not at fault. It was struck by a semi that was backing up, and really just grazed — none of the passengers was hurt.

Like any functioning autonomous vehicle, the shuttle can avoid obstacles and stop in a hurry if needed. What it apparently can’t do is move a couple feet out of the way when it looks like a 20-ton truck is going to back into it.

A passenger interviewed by KSNV shared her frustration:

The shuttle just stayed still and we were like, ‘oh my gosh, it’s gonna hit us, it’s gonna hit us!’ and then.. it hit us! And the shuttle didn’t have the ability to move back, either. Like, the shuttle just stayed still.

Surely this situation is not so rare that the shuttle’s designers did not allow for it? Moving the car out of the way of an oncoming vehicle seems like a pretty elementary safety measure.

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About Paul Gordon 1365 Articles

Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines.
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