A new driverless shuttle crashed just hours after it launched in downtown Las Vegas. pic.twitter.com/Cksy0fu0Mz
— Gabby Hart (@GabbyNews3LV) November 8, 2017
The nation’s first self-driving shuttle had a bad first day on the job in Las Vegas after it ended up in a fender-bender with a delivery truck only a couple of hours after its historic launch.
Concerned passengers on board the French built Navya say though the shuttle stopped on Fremont Street to avoid hitting a delivery truck, the autonomous vehicle made no attempt to move out of the truck’s path as it slowly moved in reverse across the road.
“The shuttle just stayed still,” Jenny Wong, a passenger on the eight-seater shuttle told news3lv.com. “And we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s going to hit us. It’s going to hit us.’ And then it hit us. And the shuttle didn’t have the ability to move back either. The shuttle just stayed still.”
Witnesses said that the electric shuttle could have avoided the collision if it would have simply backed up. No one was injured. The driver of the U.S. Foods reefer truck was cited.
Not long before the accident, a video was released (posted below) showing passengers enjoying a ride aboard the shuttle as a man explains its Level 5 capabilities.
The City of Las Vegas said following the accident that the shuttle, sponsored by AAA, will continue its 12-month pilot program providing free rides in the downtown Innovation District.
“The autonomous shuttle was testing today when it was grazed by a delivery truck downtown,” a statement from the city reads. “The shuttle did what it was supposed to do, in that its 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.”
Though the shuttle is not equipped with a steering wheel, it does have a manual brake and an attendant rides along to monitor the vehicle which has a top speed of 25mph.
The city states on its tumblr page that the “shuttle comes equipped with LiDAR technology, GPS, cameras and will seat 8 passengers with seatbelts. Safety features include the ability to automatically and immediately brake in the event of a pedestrian crossing in the path of the vehicle.
“In addition to surveying the shuttle’s riders, AAA will examine how others sharing the streets react to it – including pedestrians and cyclists,” the statement continues. “AAA chose Las Vegas for the launch because of the state’s progressive regulations on autonomous vehicles, heavy investment in innovation, the high volume of visitors and a sunny, dry climate that’s favorable for testing new driving technology.”
— Mick Akers (@mickakers) November 8, 2017