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Human at fault in accident with Las Vegas driverless shuttle

Updated November 9, 2017 - 4:49 pm

Chalk up one for the machines.

The driverless electric shuttle bus that made its debut downtown Wednesday was involved in a minor accident in its first few hours of service, but the human driver of the other vehicle was at fault, police said.

The Metropolitan Police Department said officers responded at 12:07 p.m. to an accident involving the shuttle and a delivery truck on the 100 block of South Sixth Street, near Fremont Street. Damage was minor, and no one was hurt, police said.

Police briefly closed a southbound lane of South Sixth Street from Fremont Street to Carson Avenue as they investigated.

Police determined that the shuttle came to a stop when it sensed the truck was trying to back up. However, the truck continued to back up until its tires touched the front of the shuttle.

The truck’s driver was cited for illegal backing.

The shuttle, which launched Wednesday, can talk to traffic signals and share the road with other vehicles while stopping for pedestrians. It is offering free rides for up to 11 passengers as it travels a half-mile loop in the Fremont East neighborhood.

AAA, which sponsors the shuttle, has partnered with the city of Las Vegas, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada and Keolis Transit America on the project.

Maurice Bell, vice president of mobility solutions for Keolis Transit America, said the shuttle would continue to operate after undergoing a complete diagnostic assessment. He said the vehicle has data that could shed light on the incident.

“That’s probably the positive point of all this,” Bell said, “is that we have extensive data to be able to tell us what occurred and what we could do in the future to improve upon.”

Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at apak-harvey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter. Review-Journal photographer Erik Verduzco contributed to this report.

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