Back in 2017, Las Vegas’ self-driving shuttle service got into a minor collision after just an hour into its year-long trial. While it indeed was a minor incident and nobody got damage, the fact that an autonomous car was involved prompted the National Transportation Safety Board to launch a probe. Now, the agency has wrapped up its investigation and has revealed two probable causes for the incident. First is that the truck that collided with the shuttle didn’t stop when it was speculated to, which as per the local government’s claim after the accident. The other is that the autonomous automobile attendant didn’t have easy access to the shuttle’s manual controller.
The truck driver thought the shuttle would stop at a “reasonable” distance from the truck. Although the shuttle did start slowing down when it was 98.4 feet away, it’s not programmed to cease until it is only 9.8 ft away from obstacles. The attendant hit the emergency cease button when the car was 10.2 toes away from the truck, but it clearly wasn’t enough to prevent the incident.
In an interview with the investigators, the attendant said they considered switching to manual mode to move the shuttle out of the way, however, they did not have easy access to its handheld controller. See, Las Vegas’ autonomous shuttles operate on a predetermined route, but attendants could use a controller to activate the horn and switch to manual operation. When the accident occurred, the controller was stored in an enclosed space at one end of the passenger compartment