Las Vegas' Self-Driving Bus Lasted 1 Hour Before Crashing
This is why we can't have nice things.
Earlier this year, Navya, an autonomous vehicle company, tested out a free, self-driving bus service in Las Vegas to relative success, but when the service returned yesterday it only lasted about an hour before getting in a traffic accident.
According to Engadget, the service was set for a year-long trial, but ran into a delivery truck in the first hour when the human driver of the truck backed into the bus' bumper.
The bus anticipated the collision successfully and came to a stop, so no one was hurt and nothing was damaged (other than the bus's bumper). For those who are curious about what the shuttle looks like, here's a video published by Navya that gives a closer look at the inside and outside:
We've already seen the first fatal crash involving a self-driving car, but the Navya bus isn't traveling long distances or operating on highways—it only goes about 15 MPH and runs on a route about 0.6 miles long.
The fact that it actually stopped and tried to prevent the collision is a testament to how well the system works. Unfortunately, it's apparently unable to pull off more complicated maneuvers to dodge delivery truck drivers who can't check their mirrors.
The real issues with self-driving cars, especially mass transit like buses, are going to be more complicated than simply learning when to stop: companies are already trying to model ethical systems for autonomous cars so they can make decisions that reduce loss of life (the ol' trolley problem), and hackers are already learning how to take control of them remotely.
By comparison, the Navya bus crash is funny, but certainly not damning.
Kind of like that time someone created a salt ritual circle to trap an autonomous car by messing with its programming.