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Las Vegas: Robot verses human drivers, human at fault

Crash! Gasp!

Less than 2 hours after its introduction, the driverless shuttle bus crashes with a semi-truck, right in front of the cameras and celebrities.

The human behind the wheel of the truck was at fault, police said.

Las Vegas police officer Aden Ocampo-Gomez said the semi-truck’s driver was cited for illegal backing. No injuries were reported.

The shuttle followed its coding. “The shuttle did what it was supposed to do, in that it’s [sic] sensors registered the truck and the shuttle stopped to avoid the accident,” the city said in a statement. “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.”

The shuttle was developed by a French company Navya and was tested in January in Las Vegas. The officials promoted it as the nation’s first self-driving shuttle pilot project geared toward the public.

The oval-shaped shuttle that can transport up to 12 people has an attendant and computer monitor, but no steering wheel and no brake pedals. It uses GPS, electronic curb sensors and other technology to make its way.

Before it crashed, dozens of people had lined up to get a free trip on a 0.6-mile loop in downtown Las Vegas. City spokesman Jace Radke said the shuttle took two more loops after the crash.

Nascar driver Danica Patrick and magic duo Penn and Teller were among the first passengers. the shuttlke is operated by the company named Keolis. Its vice-president Maurice Bell said that the bus will travel at a speed of 15mph. AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah, which is sponsoring the one-year pilot project, expects that 250,000 people will use the shuttle.

Las Vegas resident Stacey Gray and her dog Socrates were among the first to board the bus. She said the drive was so smooth that she couldn’t even tell she was in a car, but approaching the intersection made her a little nervous.

“A little bit of that looking around and you know wondering if it was going to stop, and ‘Oh my gosh, there’s a car behind us, kind of little hesitation,’” she said. “But it stopped and it was fine.”

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