Driverless Car Involved in Crash in First hour of Its First day on the Job


Photo via TechCrunch

An hour into the car’s first day on the job, a driverless shuttle bus that was being test-driven in Las Vegas was involved in a crash. However, it was not the vehicle’s fault.

The eight-seater vehicle that began as a pilot of the smart city infrastructure of Las Vegas encountered a minor collision after a delivery lorry reversed into it. While the vehicle was able to stop when it saw the lorry reversing, the vehicle also failed to avoid it.

Some people were inside the said vehicle when it was hit.

The incident is the newest in a series of crashes that involved driverless vehicles, the majority of which have been caused by the driver of other vehicles.

Nearly all the incidents that were recorded by Waymo, the autonomous vehicle arm of Google, have been caused by human drivers crashing the vehicles, and a major crash involving the driverless cars of Uber in March was also because of the driver of the other car.

While driverless vehicles are perceived as safer than humans (at least in fair conditions), they have also been observed as over-cautious and can move in a robotic fashion, meaning hat human drivers are not able to anticipate their movements.

The Las Vegas pilot, a collaboration between French transport group Keolis, autonomous car group Navya, the American Automobile Association, and the city, covers a 0.6-mile loop in downtown Las Vegas. It offers free trips and is designed to interact with smart traffic lights to help manage traffic.

“We were like ‘oh my gosh, it’s gonna hit us, it’s gonna hit us!’ and then, it hit us!” stated one of the passengers to KSNV, a local station. “The shuttle didn’t have the ability to move back, either. [It] just stayed still.”

A City of Las Vegas spokesperson stated: “The shuttle did what it was supposed to do, in that it’s 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.”