An autonomous shuttle vehicle has been involved in a traffic collision in Las Vegas, just two hours after beginning operations. The local police said the driver of a truck was at fault for the minor collision because he was backing up illegally, admittedly though, the shuttle could have avoided the accident if only it had reversed.
Jenny Wong, a passenger on the shuttle, said:
“The shuttle just stayed still. And we were like, it’s going to hit us, it’s going to hit us. And then it hit us. The shuttle didn’t have the ability to move back. The shuttle just stayed still.”
Despite what the passenger says, a local police officer said that the shuttle did exactly what it was meant to do, saying:
“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 had, the accident would have been avoided.”
The shuttle is sponsored by AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah, and in a year-long pilot project is expected to ferry 250,000 people at a top speed of 15 mph. The AAA says that 90% of the 30,000 deaths on U.S. roads in 2016 were due to human error and will be reduced by the introduction of automated vehicles.