NV: Human-Driven Truck Hits Driverless Autonomous Bus

Ivan Schwartz
November 12, 2017

According to NTSB spokesman Christopher O'Neil, the agency wants to study "how self-driving vehicles interact with their environment and the other human-driven vehicles around them".

Federal transportation safety officials headed to Las Vegas on Friday to investigate a collision this week between a self-driving shuttle bus on its first day of service and a truck, which was blamed on human error. It drove up to eight passengers alongside real traffic along a half-mile route, with plans to carry 250,000 riders in a year-long trial.

The NTSB has sent a team of four investigators to examine the accident, which spokesman Chris O'Neil said is the agency's first probe of a collision involving a driverless vehicle.

Wednesday's fender bender of the Vegas shuttle wasn't the first self-driving vehicle crash, but it was the first involving one operating in public service, a representative for the National Transportation Safety Board told the news service Reuters. AAA chose Las Vegas for the launch because of the state's progressive regulations on autonomous vehicles, heavy investment in innovation, the high volume of visitors and a sunny, dry climate that's favorable for testing new driving technology. However, the truck continued to back up until its tires touched the front of the shuttle, resulting in the citation for the truck driver for unsafe backing.

The AAA said human error was responsible for more than 90% of the 30,000 deaths on United States roads in 2016, and that robotic cars could help reduce the number of incidents.

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It also confirmed the driver of the truck was cited by the Las Vegas Police Department.

The autonomous shuttle was testing today when it was grazed by a delivery truck in #dtlv. A few hours later, a delivery truck backed into the stopped shuttle, according to a reporter on the shuttle and one of its sponsor companies. "Unfortunately, the human element, the driver of the truck, didn't stop".

In a further statement on the City of Las Vegas tumblr page, the city said the shuttle was "grazed" by the truck and the incident would have been avoided had "the truck had the same sensing equipment that the shuttle has". The incident didn't stop the shuttle from resuming service the next day. But within two hours it had already been involved in a minor crash with a [truck].

"My suggestion to Navya and Keolis is that if the shuttle doesn't have cameras and LIDAR facing backwards, it would be good to enable the shuttle to reverse if something's coming toward it".

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