A driverless shuttle in Las Vegas got into a crash with a truck on its very first day of service. First reported by , the crash involved a shuttle developed by Keolis North America and sponsored by the motor club American Automobile Association (AAA).
"We believe our Las Vegas pilot will allow the public to experience this exciting technology for themselves and allow their voices to be heard as AAA studies how autonomous transportation can be safely deployed for public use," regional AAA president Tim Condon, the day before the crash.
The crash occurred on a 0.6 mile loop away from the Vegas strip, what the city refers to as the "Innovation District" of downtown. It highlights the problem with having both self-driving cars and humans on the road—the latter is not prepared for the former. Humans simply aren't rational drivers. According to the City of Las Vegas , a human-driven truck was at fault for the crash, not the self-driving car.
The autonomous shuttle was testing today when it was grazed by a delivery truck downtown. 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 has, the accident would have been avoided. Testing of the shuttle will continue during the 12-month pilot in the downtown Innovation District. The shuttle will remain out of service for the rest of the day. The driver of the truck was cited by Metro.
It would only take a few self-driving cars on the street to drastically reduce traffic, and the safety improvements have the chance to save lives. There will always be some level of risk involved on the open road, but the robots are generally the ones who should be worried.