Economy

Self-operating Shuttle Bus Crashes After Las Vegas Launch

Self-operating Shuttle Bus Crashes After Las Vegas Launch

It took less than two hours for Las Vegas's brand new self-driving shuttle to end up in a crash on Wednesday - thanks to a human. Thursday also marked the shuttle's first collision. No injuries were reported. The experimental shuttle bus had predicted that an accident was about to happen, and according to it algorithmic protocols, stopped.

In this case, the pod-like Navya SAS shuttle had been behind the truck, which stopped, shifted into reverse and began backing up slowly to turn into the alley.

The only damage of significance has been to the front bumper of the shuttle bus.

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. The driver of the truck was cited by Metro.

The Metropolitan Police Department said officers responded at 12.07 pm to an accident involving the shuttle and a delivery truck on the 100 block of South Sixth Street, near Fremont Street.

The incident was due to "human error" after a truck failed to stop and backed into the bus.

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NTSB is investigating the crash with hopes of learning more about "how self-driving vehicles interact with their environment and the other human-driven vehicles around them", the spokesman said.

"We had about 20 feet of empty street behind us (I looked), and most human drivers would have thrown the vehicle into reverse and used some of that space to get away from the truck", Jeff Zurschmeide wrote on digitaltrends.com. "Or at least leaned on the horn and made our presence harder to miss", said Zurschmeide.

The Automobile Association of America (AAA) of Southern Nevada, which is one of the sponsors of the shuttle, has expressed its willingness to working with the NTSB in order to help further the investigation.

At the unveiling ceremony, officials promoted it as the nation'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.

While the Las Vegas pilot has exposed some shortcomings in the technology, autonomous public transportation has been operating successfully in both Switzerland and Singapore for more than a year, and Heathrow Airport in London has used driverless pods since 2011.