The first-ever self-driving shuttle launched yesterday in #dtlv. It had a minor incident but the shuttle stopped like it was supposed to; the truck driver was cited: https://t.co/TWrQD9WGxy pic.twitter.com/BVRWwdrKOR— City of Las Vegas (@CityOfLasVegas) November 9, 2017
Less than two hours into its inaugural trip, a self-driving bus in Las Vegas got into a fender-bender with another truck. But before you blame the driverless vehicle, read on.
It seems that a delivery truck and the bus were heading toward each other when the bus’s sensors determined it should brake. The human-operated truck, however, did not make the same assessment, and kept moving forward, lightly grazing the front of the bus.
Oddly enough, the accident could have been prevented — had the delivery truck also been a self-driving model.
“Had the truck had the same sensing equipment that the shuttle has, the accident would have been avoided,” read an official statement from the city.
The electric buses hold eight passengers, providing each with a seatbelt. All passengers onboard were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the incident, and none of them were injured.
CBS News reports that the truck driver received a ticket in the accident.
A self-driving shuttle bus was involved in a crash in Las Vegas less than 2 hours into its first trip. It was hit by a semi truck, and the driver of that vehicle received a ticket. It is the first time a self-driving shuttle bus was used on a public road. pic.twitter.com/5Xror40xFW— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 9, 2017
Jenny Wong, who was a passenger on the bus, recalled the incident to LasVegasNow.com.
"We were all like, '[Oh] my gosh, he's going to hit us, he's going to hit us,' and then, BAM," she said
Wong also said she would still ride the driverless bus in the future.
The self-driving bus program is a joint venture of transportation management company Keolis and a French company called Navya. The bus's route is just 0.6 miles long, and it makes three stops along the entirety of its route.
Many people are still nervous about technologies that are trending toward driverless transportation. A survey by the American Automobile Association in March revealed that three in four Americans are still hesitant to trust such vehicles.
But this instance should put at least some of those fears to rest. Even though it was in a small fender-bender on its first day, the driverless bus did the right thing. The driver of the other vehicle — a human — did not.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: AAA/Keolis/Handout via REUTERS