A driverless shuttle bus crashed less than two hours after it was launched in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
The city’s officials had been hosting an unveiling ceremony for the bus, described as the US’ first self-driving shuttle pilot project geared towards the public, before it crashed with a semi-truck.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the human driver of the other vehicle was at fault, there were no injuries, and the incident caused minor damage.
The oval-shaped shuttle — sponsored by AAA, the Review-Journal added — can transport up to 12 passengers at a time. It has an attendant and a computer monitor, and uses GPS and electric curb sensors instead of brakes or a steering wheel.
The crash follows the US House passing the Self Drive Act in September, which if passed by the Senate would exempt car manufacturers from various federal and state regulations, allowing for the eventual deployment of up to 100,000 test vehicles a year.
Under the Act, states would still decide whether or not to permit self-driving cars on their roads. However, the federal government could permit a car manufacturer to bypass certain federal safety rules, as well as some state regulations.
The Las Vegas crash is not the first time self-driving vehicles have been involved in a collision. In March, Uber halted its self-driving vehicle tests in the US following a collision in Arizona. An Uber spokesperson later said all tests had been paused for the ride-hailing service to complete an investigation.
Google’s self-driving car was found to be at fault when it struck a public bus in California early last year. The company said that it would improve software for the vehicles to more accurately differentiate larger vehicles such as buses. Its self-driving car unit Waymo also recently patented a way to make vehicles softer as part of efforts to reduce collision-related injuries.
Tesla’s Autopilot feature was engaged when the driver of a 2015 Model S was killed in an accident in Williston, Florida in May last year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into the performance of the feature, although it later found no defects in the its design or performance.
Car manufacturers around the world are still investing in autonomous vehicle efforts. Volvoplans to involve every-day drivers in its “Drive Me” pilot on the streets of London in December; while Intel’s Mobileye is building more than 100 level 4 SAE vehicles, which it will test in the United States, Israel, and Europe starting this year.