NTSB to Investigate Crash of Self-Driving Shuttle

Self-driving shuttle collision mars Las Vegas debut

Self-driving shuttle collision mars Las Vegas debut

The Automobile Association of America (AAA) of Southern Nevada, one of the shuttle's sponsors, said it would assist the safety board's investigation.

Speaking to the BBC, Las Vegas public information officer Jace Radke said: "The shuttle did what it was supposed to do and 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. Unfortunately the delivery truck did not stop and grazed the front fender of the shuttle.

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Self-driving technology has been involved in crashes before, but nearly all reported incidents have been due to human error. Awkwardly for the Navya Arma, the autonomous vehicle, it got hit on the same day that it went into service causing doubts about the nascent technology.

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.

However, some people are critical of the autonomous vehicle, claiming that a human driver would have been able to avoid the collision by moving out of the way rather than waiting to be hit by the truck.

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"Automated shuttles have the ability to reduce operational expenditures by lowering per mile costs, reducing labor expenditures, and offering a variety of flexible and on-demand public transportation services when paired with advanced algorithms and smartphone apps", Susan Shaheen, a civil engineer who studies mobility innovation at UC Berkeley, told Wired. "Obviously that doesn't work. Or at least leaned on the horn and made our presence harder to miss", said Zurschmeide. "The shuttle didn't have those responses in its programme". The driver of the truck was cited by Metro.

The number of such incidents has been on the rise ever since public testing of autonomous vehicle technology has been allowed in certain USA states like California.

Las Vegas police confirmed that the driver of the truck was to blame for the crash and issued him a ticket. Even though the auto could be used for extended periods without human intervention, it was not created to stop if a truck was crossing in front of it, the agency's report concluded.

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The NTSB in recent years has focused on the potential safety benefits and risks posed by automation in a variety of transportation modes, from aviation to railroads. At the same time, it has warned that drivers need to be trained how to use these devices so they don't create new safety risks.

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