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10 November 2017, 12:24 | Terri Saunders
A self-driving bus debuted in downtown Las Vegas on Nov. 8 2017
The free, eight-passenger vehicle rode along a three-stop, half-mile loop on Fremont Street and Carson Avenue in the downtown area. 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.
The driver of the truck was charged with illegal reversing.
Several passengers were on board when the collision occurred, although no one was hurt. The shuttle underwent testing in the city earlier this year.
The autonomous shuttle was testing today when it was grazed by a delivery truck downtown.
"The shuttle did what it was supposed to do, in that its sensors registered the truck and the shuttle stopped to avoid the accident", a comment on the city's blog said. The truck was reversing into a loading dock, but the driver of the truck couldn't see the shuttle.
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The shuttle was pulled from service for the rest of the day, but the city plans to continue the pilot project. The group will also survey riders before and after each trip to understand why the majority of Americans remain anxious about self-driving technology, and whether the shuttle experience changes their mind. "The driver of the truck was cited by Metro".
"Autonomous technology has the potential to save lives and improve traffic safety", AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah president Tim Condon said in a press release touting the new shuttle.
Keolis did not immediately respond to a request for comment on what data it could glean from the incident to make a better shuttle in the future.
The AAA, which has launched several car-sharing and self-driving auto initiatives in California this year, hopes to glean insights that could inform the regulatory landscape for self-driving technology, and help automakers and tech companies address Americans' concerns around its widespread adoption.
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