Self-Driving Shuttle Bus Avoids Serious Collision With Auto-Stop Technology
Wednesday was a new self-driving shuttle bus’ first day on the road in Las Vegas. The 12-month project is funded by AAA and Keolis in an effort to create a more easily accessible public transportation system for the city. But unfortunately, the shuttle bus had a tough first day.
WAIT. Before you jump to conclusions, hear us out. While the bus may have gotten into a minor collision, it actually wasn’t at fault. In fact, the self-driving bus lessened the seriousness of the accident thanks to its automatic stop technology.
The shuttle bus was transporting passengers downtown when its front sensors detected a truck that was backing up toward the shuttle. The sensors triggered the bus’ automatic stop system, and the vehicle successfully came to a stop. However, the oncoming truck, operated by a human, did not stop.
The truck backed up and collided with the front end of the bus, damaging the shuttle’s fender. Thankfully, all eight of the shuttle’s passengers had buckled their seat belts and there were no injuries. A spokesperson for the city of Las Vegas directly blames human error for the accident, not the autonomous technology. “Had the truck had the same sensing equipment that the shuttle had, the accident would have been avoided,” the spokesperson said.
This incident is just another example of human error on the roadways. Many pioneers of autonomous vehicles have said time and time again that until cars are sans human operation, we will never have entirely safe roadways.
Participants (i.e. passengers) of this pilot program are being asked to complete a survey post-ride to help the project move forward. Despite the accident, we have a feeling these eight passengers are happy with the bus’ actions.
While the accident marked the end of the shuttle bus’ first day, the project isn’t ending. The autonomous shuttle will be back on the road again soon.