A driverless shuttle released in downtown Las Vegas was involved in a minor accident less than an hour after reaching the streets, reported the local NBC affiliate , KSNV. Not really the kind of advertising you want, or that autonomous cars need.
The shuttle, a Navya egglike 8 seater, is operated by AAA and Keolis. It was a test deployment along half a mile from the "innovation district" of East Fremont, so this thing was not navigating the band. Probably a good thing.
Now, it must be said that technically the robot-car was not at fault. He was hit by a semi receding, and really just grazed – none of the passengers were injured.
Like any autonomous vehicle in operation, the shuttle can avoid obstacles and stop when needed. What he apparently can not do, is to move a few feet when one has the impression that a 20 ton truck is going to get in there.
A passenger interviewed by KSNV shared her frustration:
The shuttle remained motionless and we were like, 'Oh my god, it's going to hit us, it's going to hit us!' And then .. it hit us! And the shuttle did not have the ability to back off either. As, the shuttle remained motionless.
Surely this situation is not so unusual that the designers of the shuttle did not allow it? Moving the car out of the way of an oncoming vehicle seems like a pretty basic safety measure.
A representative from the city of Las Vegas issued a statement that the shuttle "did what it was supposed to do, its sensors registered the truck and the shuttle stopped to avoid # 39; accident. " She also claims, the truck had the same detection equipment that the shuttle would have avoided the accident. "
Not if it did not react properly, as it was undoubtedly the case with the shuttle. The tests will continue, but I must say that I will not go until they demonstrate that it can do more than stop.