For the past few years we’ve been told that driverless cars, buses and trucks are the future. We’ve also been told that they’re just a few years away.
But it might be a case of back to the drawing board for driverless technology, if this story is any example.
A self-driving shuttle bus has been launched in Las Vegas, to much fanfare. Two hours after the launch, the bus was involved in a crash with a truck. Fortunately, no-one was injured, but it has called into question the haste with which we seem to be adopting driverless technology.
The company who designed the bus hit back at criticism, saying the technology wasn’t at fault – instead, the crash was caused by human error.
But witnesses on the ground contradicted this assertion, saying that even as the truck was moving slowly towards the bus the autonomous vehicle did not react – suggesting that it was either unable to do so or did not see the threat of the oncoming vehicle.
Driverless technology has been used in an experimental capacity in the US, Europe, Australia and elsewhere for the past few years – although widespread adoption of the technology is apparently still years away.
Plans for driverless long-haul trucks as well as taxis and ride sharing services have come along rapidly in recent years, with Google’s Waymo to launch in Arizona sometime in 2018.