NTSB to Probe Las Vegas Driverless Shuttle Bus Collision, City Officials Blame Trucker

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In this Jan. 12, 2017, photo, the Navya Arma autonomous vehicle drives down a street in Las Vegas. The driverless electric shuttle has begun carrying passengers in a test program in a downtown Las Vegas entertainment district. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The Story:

The United States National Transportation Safety Board wants to learn more about “how self-driving vehicles interact with their environment and the other human-driven vehicles around them,” said NTSB spokesman Christopher O‘Neil.

Federal officials were sent to Las Vegas Friday to investigate a crash involving a driverless shuttle bus and a human-driven truck.

Human error was blamed for the incident.

Why It Matters:

This is not the first time that an autonomous vehicle has been involved in a crash, but it is the first time that it’s happened while the vehicle was in public service.

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

Of the 12 such incidents reported since September 8 just in the state of California, 8 of them involved Cruise Automation, the tech company that General Motors bought to bolster its position in the race to develop fully autonomous vehicle technology.

In all 8 incidents, human error by the drivers of the other vehicles were blamed for the mishaps, as told to regulators by GM.

 

The Nuts and Bolts:

 

The Las Vegas self-driving shuttle bus with “several” passengers was hit by a slow-moving truck.

No injuries were reported, but the man was given a ticket after city authorities said that it was the truck driver’s fault.

The shuttle is made by Navya, a French startup, and operated by Keolis, a French private transportation company that operates the service as a 0.6 mile loop offering free rides to residents of downtown Las Vegas.

The incident occurred on the first day of the driverless shuttle bus’s service.

 

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