AAA and Keolis launch public self-driving shuttle in downtown Las Vegas
From the Tumblr feed of the City of Las Vegas:
"The autonomous shuttle was testing today when it was grazed by a delivery truck downtown. The shuttle did what it was supposed to do, in that its sensors registered the truck and the shuttle stopped to avoid the accident. 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. Testing of the shuttle will continue during the 12-month pilot in the downtown Innovation District. The shuttle will remain out of service for the rest of the day. The driver of the truck was cited by Metro."
The original story follows:
AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah and Keolis have launched what they say is the nation’s first self-driving shuttle pilot project geared specifically for the public. Over the course of a year, the self-driving shuttle aims at providing a quarter-million residents and visitors of Las Vegas with first-hand experience using autonomous vehicle (AV) technology, exposing most riders to the technology for the first time. This pilot builds on Keolis’ limited shuttle launch in downtown Las Vegas in early 2017; today’s launch will be the first self-driving vehicle to be fully integrated with a city’s traffic infrastructure.
In addition to studying how the shuttle interacts in a live traffic environment in downtown Las Vegas’ busy Innovation District, AAA will survey riders on their experience to understand why a large percentage of consumers remain wary of driverless technology, and whether a personal experience changes their perception. AAA is partnering with the City of Las Vegas, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC), and Keolis North America, which will operate and maintain the Navya Arma fully electric shuttle.
Tim Condon, President and CEO of AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah, said AV technology is poised to bring unprecedented mobility independence to Americans, in addition to improving traffic safety.
“AAA believes autonomous technology has the potential to save lives and improve traffic safety. We believe our Las Vegas pilot will allow the public to experience this exciting technology for themselves and allow their voice to be heard as AAA studies how autonomous transportation can be safely deployed for public use," Condon said.
The shuttle is manufactured by Navya; comes equipped with LiDAR technology, GPS, and cameras; and will seat eight passengers with seatbelts. Safety features include the ability to automatically and immediately brake in the event of a pedestrian crossing in the path of the vehicle.
In addition to surveying the shuttle’s riders, AAA will examine how others sharing the streets react to it—including pedestrians and cyclists. AAA chose Las Vegas for the launch because of the state’s progressive regulations on autonomous vehicles, heavy investment in innovation, the high volume of visitors, and a sunny, dry climate that is favorable for testing new driving technology, according to Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman.
“As a global provider of innovative public transportation services, we’re honored to be working with the city of Las Vegas, the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission, AAA, and our Navya partners to test autonomous shuttle services with residents and visitors of Las Vegas,” said Keolis North America president and CEO Clement Michel. “Today marks a historic first step in introducing the first autonomous shuttles to operate on an expanded network of city streets in North America. We’re excited to demonstrate to the residents and visitors of Las Vegas new technology that will enhance their transportation experiences in the future.”
In addition to the pilot in Las Vegas, AAA also partnered with GoMentum Station in Concord, CA, to study vehicles being tested at the nation’s largest secure proving grounds for connected and autonomous technology.
The self-driving shuttle covers a 0.6 mile loop in the Fremont East “Innovation District” of downtown Las Vegas. (The shuttle can be boarded at any of the AV shuttle’s three stops located on Fremont St. and Carson St. between Las Vegas Blvd and 8th Street.) The all-electric shuttle offers free rides for people to experience autonomous transportation in a real-world environment. The shuttle is the country’s first autonomous shuttle to be fully integrated with “smart city” infrastructure, communicating with traffic signals to improve safety and traffic flow. The shuttle is operated and maintained by Keolis, which also led the efforts to integrate its vehicle into the smart city infrastructure, in partnership with the City of Las Vegas and Navya.
AAA says it will donate $1 per passenger during the pilot program for a minimum donation of $100,000 to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund and its efforts to support the needs of people impacted by the Las Vegas mass shooting on October 1, 2017.