Self-driving bus crashes on its very first day of service in Las Vegas
First days at work can sometimes be nerve-wracking – even if you’re not technically human.
And so it was for a brand new driverless shuttle bus, that crashed on its very first day in operation in Las Vegas.
The self-driving vehicle had just set of on a series of half-mile loops around the gambling capital when a delivery truck emerged from an alley and clipped the bumper of the bus.
Thankfully no one was injured in the incident and while it may appear a little embarrassing for the shuttle, which is part of a joint project of insurance giant AAA (American Automobile Association), transportation company Kelois and French tech firm Nayva, the blame is being placed solely on the delivery driver.
City spokesman Jace Radke said: “The shuttle did its job in that the sensors hit on the truck, knew the truck was coming and stopped as it was supposed to do.
“The problem was the truck didn’t stop.”
He added that the collision helped determine how the driverless vehicles reacted when having to navigate everyday traffic.
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Mr Radke added: “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.”
Supporters of self-driving cars argue that they will reduce traffic accidents because they remove human error.
AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah president Tim Condon said in a press release touting the new shuttle: “Autonomous technology has the potential to save lives and improve traffic safety.”
Crashes involving self-driving technology have so far nearly all been due to human error.
An autonomous Uber vehicle rolled over in Arizona after another driver on the road failed to give way earlier this year.
However, another man was killed in 2016 in an incident with a Tesla Model S, which has some autonomous functions.
An investigation ruled that computer failings were partly to blame.