Safety Probe Coming For Vegas Self-Driving Shuttle Accident – video

5 days ago by Mark Kane 9

AAA And Keolis Launch Nation’s First Public Self-Driving NAVYA Arma Shuttle In Downtown Las Vegas

The recent accident involving an autonomous NAVYA Arma electric shuttle in Las Vegas just moments after its official launch, has now became the subject of U.S. National Transportation Safety Board investigation.

Navya ARMA

The cause of the collision is known – a semi truck backed into the stopped shuttle in an intersection. Fault was found because of the human error of the truck diver, who was then cited and a received ticket, however the accident appeared to still have been easily avoidable – had the shuttle taken appropriate and expected actions to avoid the incident.

And now the NTSB wants to learn more about “how self-driving vehicles interact with their environment and the other human-driven vehicles around them.”

“There have been other crashes involving self-driving vehicles but this was the first involving a self-driving vehicle operating in public service, O‘Neil said. Four NTSB investigators were expected to arrive in Las Vegas on Friday.” – via Reuters

Thankfully, the accident was not a serious one, as the Navya ARMA shuttle’s front end sustained only minor damage, and resumed service the next day.

However, the accident could have potentially be avoided if shuttle would have used its horn to alert the truck driver (as would be expected of a human driver) or simple reverse a few feet (the street was clear behind the vehicle at the time). These are areas were autonomous vehicles could be upgraded.

“Reporter Jeff Zurschmeide, who was on the shuttle at the time of the crash, said the self-driving vehicle did what it was programmed to do, but not everything a human driver might do.

“That’s a critical point,” Zurschmeide wrote on digitaltrends.com. “We had about 20 feet of empty street behind us (I looked), and most human drivers would have thrown the car into reverse and used some of that space to get away from the truck. Or at least leaned on the horn and made our presence harder to miss.””

According to the Reuters, there have been 12 crashes in California alone since September. Eight Chevrolet Bolt EVs, tested by Cruise Automation, have also been hit, but at the technical fault of the human operators in other vehicles.

source: Reuters

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9 responses to "Safety Probe Coming For Vegas Self-Driving Shuttle Accident – video"

  1. So Autonomous Vehicle doesn’t have any concerns for safety or self preservation, yet!

    Or, its programming doesn’t consider ways to maintain separation, via reversing to make extra space, or to communicate a risk of collision by activating the Horn! (Did it even have a Horn?)

    And yet it was OK’d and signed off for Level 5 Autonomous Activities? Wow!

    1. ffbj says:

      All powered vehicles that drive on roads must have horns. Needs an OTA, to tell it to honk it’s horn and then with what frequency.

      If it could tell it was going to be hit then it should honk it’s horn, or hoot it’s hooter as is said in some places. Pretty simple fix, and someone should have thought of it.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        I agree. Speaking as a programmer, having the car honk its horn when it detects an imminent collision should be a fairly simple addition to the self-driving program, and should be easily implemented.

    2. wavelet says:

      I’m certain it wasn’t OK’d for Level-5 — AFAIK, nowhere in the world has that yet on public streets, and a test engineer monitoring the vehicle needs to be present with hands on the wheel. In fact, I bet it’ll be 30-40 years before any legal jurisdiction OK’s L5 with no driver at all in public.

      The Navya shuttle in this case did have a monitoring driver… But he was busy playing guide for the journalists on the shuttle, and not paying attention to the surroundings.

      IIUC, the shuttle was stopped when the truck backed into it (it had stopped after sensing the truck), in which case I wouldn’t consider this an accident worth investigating at all — IME most human drivers would not have taken any active evasive action after they had stopped, at most leaned on the horn.

  2. fotomoto says:

    col·li·sion
    kəˈliZHən/Submit
    noun
    1.
    an instance of one moving object or person striking violently against another.
    “a midair collision between two aircraft”

    http://www.dictionary.com/browse/collision

    Please edit.

  3. Mark.ca says:

    Suddenly everyone can avoid accidents…man, people are great drivers, I’m telling you!
    In the past 15 years i had 3 accidents. In the first i was not in the car, someone backed into it in a parking lot. The second someone backed into it while i was in the car and honking but was blocked and could not move…got hit still. The last one the other driver fell asleep and suddenly drifted into opposite traffic and hit me head on. I can’t wait for autonomous driving. And when it comes, i hope your insurance will cost x10 if you choose to drive the car yourself. This “accident ” in Vegas is made up to look like it was the shuttle fault in all news outlets which is sad and untrue. If anyone thinks they are such great drivers then let’s do a test…i will put you on the road and myself and a few of my friends will hunt you down and crash into you, let’s see how long you last.

  4. Tom W says:

    Blame the shuttle? How about the trucker whose brain is the size of a walnut who didn’t use his mirrors?

    Thankfully the trucker got the ticket and may need to start looking for another job.

  5. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Hey, I was once sitting in my car in a parking lot, reading and minding my own business, when a lady driving a van backed right into my car.

    Strangely enough, the police didn’t find it necessary to ask the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate. They just gave her a ticket for causing an accident.

    * * * * *

    While we can hope that autonomous driving systems will be improved to the point that they can “drive defensively” and take active measures to avoid an accident which would be the fault of the other driver/vehicle — so long as they don’t endanger other vehicles or pedestrians in doing so — at the same time it seems very strange to me for the NTSB to investigate an accident where quite clearly the other driver/vehicle was at fault. Exactly what is it that the investigation would hope to find that isn’t obvious before it starts?

  6. Hangtime says:

    These days it seems that when drivers come to a stop for any reason they automatically grab their phones and don’t pay attention to what’s happening around them.
    So this accident would’ve still happened and the driver of the car would’ve said that they “turned away for a sec” when their car was hit.

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