By Hayley Tsukayama
The Washington Post
A driverless shuttle in Las Vegas made its official debut on public streets. Two hours into the job, it got into its first crash.
As it turns out, you don’t have to be human to have a bad first day of work.
To be fair to the shuttle, the fender bender Wednesday was caused by the other driver — in this case, a delivery truck that backed into the front of the shuttle, which stopped after it sensed it was in danger of collision, according to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police department confirmed that the delivery truck driver was at fault and had been cited.
The shuttle, which is being run through a partnership of vehicle company Navya and transportation firm Keolis, had been through a successful controlled trial in Vegas. It is back up and running Thursday, said Chris Barker, a Keolis spokesman, who added that the shuttle couldn’t back up itself to avoid the collision because there was traffic behind it.
Las Vegas’s shuttle is not the only driverless vehicle to end up in a crash that wasn’t its fault. In fact, tests from Google’s driverless car project reports that most — but not all — of the accidents it’s logged appear to be the fault of a human, in some capacity. In some cases, it’s been the fault of the human sitting behind the wheel of the driverless car; other crashes have been due to outside vehicles. The same seems to hold true for driverless vehicles being tested on roads in California, according to the accident reports that testers are compelled to file with the state.
Keolis Transit America’s Maurice Bell, its vice president of mobility solutions, told the Review-Journal that the firm would take the information from the crash and learn from it. “That’s probably the positive point of all this,” he said.