A driverless shuttle recently debuted in Las Vegas and within an hour crashed. Developed by the French company Navya ARMA, it met its demise after looping around downtown Vegas. Though according to the shuttle’s sponsor AAA, it wasn’t the vehicle’s fault.
"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,” said a representative from the City of Las Vegas in a statement following the fender bender.
This incident ironically coincides with AAA’s warning that 30,000 people died on roads throughout the U.S.A last year with 90 percent of those crashes caused by human error. The goal of the shuttle project is to make the roads safer by removing drivers from the equation.
Luckily, in this case, the damage to the bus was minor, and no-one was hurt, the company that owns an operates the shuttle Keolis has yet to comment.
Soon the autonomous minibus will be back on the roads and pedestrians can try it out for free, says KSNV News3LV, better yet AAA will donate $1 to the Las Vegas Victims Fund for every rider that attempts the shuttle.
“The shuttle can be boarded at any of the three stops located on Fremont and Carson Streets between Las Vegas Boulevard and 8th Street. The shuttle seats eight with seatbelts and has the ability to immediately brake automatically or manually in case anything crosses its path — something that was clearly tested in today’s incident.”
Keolis in London
This year Keolis added London to its roster of cities to test out the driverless shuttle on. In September, Londoners were invited to try out the bus as it motored into England’s capital. The trial took place in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, each shuttle accommodated 15 passengers and then traveled a 1km loop around the park, serving four stops and taking 12 minutes per trip. After two weeks of the trial, 1000 passengers had jumped on board.
“Designed by Keolis’ partner NAVYA, the London shuttles use state-of-the-art sensors, cameras, odometry and GPS mapping to navigate a programmed route and detect obstacles in its path, day or night, all without a driver,” says Keolis on their website.
The goal of Keolis’ autonomous shuttle project is to start introducing advanced, sustainable and integrative modes of transport that are safe for passengers, in a bid to “revolutionize public transport.”