Las Vegas Sun

November 21, 2018

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Las Vegas self-driving shuttle in minor wreck on launch day

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L.E. Baskow

NAVYA and Keolis, in partnership with the city of Las Vegas, launched the first completely autonomous, fully electric shuttle ever to be deployed on a public roadway Nov. 8, 2017, in the United States.

A self-driving shuttle in downtown Las Vegas was involved in a minor wreck today, the first day of a yearlong trial period.

After a kickoff ceremony at the Container Park, the autonomous vehicle began shuttling passengers around a .6-mile loop downtown for the first time. But after just a few runs, it was hit by a delivery truck, according to Metro Police.

“The (autonomous) vehicle stopped as designed when it saw a truck backing up, but the truck simply didn’t stop backing up,” said Andreas Mai, executive vice president of market development and innovation for Keolis, which operates the shuttle. “The truck very slowly backed up into a parked autonomous shuttle.”

The eight passengers on board the free shuttle were not hurt, and the driver of the truck was cited with a minor traffic violation, police said.

“It’s a pretty unexciting crash, but obviously, it’s the worst timing on the planet,” Mai said.

Keolis will inspect the vehicle, which appeared to only sustain cosmetic damage, to ensure it is working properly before putting it back on the street as early as Thursday, Mai said.