Las Vegas unleashed its first driverless shuttle packed with passengers yesterday, and within two hours it was hit by a delivery truck with a human driver.
Apparently, the shuttle's sensors recognized the truck – which was backing up – so the shuttle stopped to avoid an accident. The truck, however, did not stop and it hit the shuttle. Luckily, it was minor and no one was hurt.
According to the Huffington Post:
“The shuttle just stayed still and we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s gonna hit us, it’s gonna hit us!’ and then, it hit us!” passenger Jenny Wong told KSNV. “And the shuttle didn’t have the ability to move back, either. Like, the shuttle just stayed still.”
Fortunately, no humans were injured in the crash, the city said.
The eight-passenger shuttle is currently offering free rides to people along a half-mile loop in the city’s Fremont East “Innovation District.” The operation is part of a 12-month pilot program, the city said.
Self-driving cars have a hard time predicting bicycle movement, and workarounds that require cyclists to buy transmitters are running into resistance from some.
Some of these near-misses would probably have been catastrophic and unavoidable without predictive autopilot.
Alexis Madrigal got a chance to visit the fascinating town of Castle, a roads-only city constructed by Waymo for the sole purpose of developing self-driving cars.
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