Wed, 19 Dec 2018
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Truck driver blamed after self-driving shuttle crashes in US

By Sheetal Sukhija, Hong Kong News
10 Nov 2017, 01:26 GMT+10

LAS VEGAS, U.S. - Las Vegass brand new self-driving shuttle launched in the city on Wednesday and on its very first day, was involved in a tragic crash.

Dubbed Americas first self-driving shuttle pilot project, the autonomous bus made its debut on public roads around the Innovation District in downtown Las Vegas.

Amid much hype created by cameras and celebrities, the bus set out on a journey that was set to pave the future of the automobile industry.

However, two hours later, it had already been involved in a minor crash with a lorry, but no injuries were reported.

While a truck driver has been blamed for the accident, passengers have said that the crash could have been avoided if the autonomous vehicle had reversed.

Local reports quoted Jenny Wong, a passenger on the shuttle at the time of the crash as saying, The shuttle just stayed still. And we were like, its going to hit us, its going to hit us. And then it hit us. The shuttle didnt have the ability to move back. The shuttle just stayed still.

According to Las Vegas police officer Aden Ocampo-Gomez, the trucks driver was at fault for the crash and was cited for illegal backing.

The city issued a statement that said, 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.

The shuttle, which can seat up to eight people, has an attendant and computer monitor, but no steering wheel or brake pedals.

It has been developed by French company Navya and uses GPS, electronic kerb sensors and other technology to find its way at no more than 15mph.

On Wednesday, dozens of people had lined up to get a free trip on a 0.6-mile loop around Fremont East, Las Vegas, including Nascar driver Danica Patrick and magic duo Penn and Teller.

The City spokesman Jace Radke said the shuttle took two more loops after the crash.

According to reports, the project was sponsored by AAA (American Automobile Association) Northern California, Nevada and Utah and during its year-long pilot stint, it is expected to carry 250,000 people.

In 2016, the AAA said human error was responsible for more than 90 percent of the 30,000 deaths on U.S. roads.

It has stated that robotic cars could help reduce the number of incidents.

Currently, technology giants and auto manufacturers are under pressure to prove self-driving cars are safe and reliable.

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