During a test deployment along half a mile of the Fremont East “Innovation District,” Navya - an 8-seat self-driving shuttle, sponsored by AAA - was struck by a delivery truck that was backing up, less than an hour after its maiden voyage began. It was a minor incident, and no injuries were reported.
A representative on behalf of AAA has stated on Twitter that the crash was caused by the truck backing into the shuttle at the time and was a result of human error, with the driver of the truck cited.
Navya is currently the only one of its kind in the United States and offers its rides for free, in an effort to get more people to try out the new driverless technology.
The shuttle seats eight with seatbelts and has the ability to immediately brake automatically or manually in case anything crosses its path -- something that was clearly tested in today's incident.
But one passenger from Wednesday's incident voiced frustrations:
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! And the shuttle didn’t have the ability to move back, either. Like, the shuttle just stayed still.
The City of Las Vegas released a statement following the fender bender, seemingly pleased with the shuttle's performance:
"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 it’s sensors registered the truck and the shuttle stopped to avoid the accident. Unfortunately, the delivery truck did not stop and grazed the front fender of the shuttle. Had the truck had the same sensing equipment that the shuttle has the accident would have been avoided. Testing of the shuttle will continue during the 12-month pilot in the downtown Innovation District."