IN AMERICA, THE age of autonomous shuttles began with a crunch. A minor crunch, really, according to the people running the autonomous shuttle in question.
On Wednesday, the multinational transportation company Keolis, French manufacturer Navya, and AAA launched the small driverless vehicle in Las Vegas. The electric vehicle had an attendant on board, to keep the peace, and carried eight people in a half-mile loop around the Fremont Street Entertainment District.
Then, just a few hours into service: crunch. According to representatives from Keolis and AAA, as well as a first-person account published in Digital Trends, the shuttle encountered a semi-truck backing out of an alleyway and stopped. It couldn’t back up, because there was a vehicle directly behind it. It’s programmed to be extra-conservative, so it just sat there as the truck slowly backed into it.