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US authorities to investigate self-driving shuttle crash in Las Vegas

Las Vega (Monitoring Desk): US authorities has decided to investigate the self-driving shuttle and truck collision in Las Vegas.

Federal transportation safety officials headed to Las Vegas on Friday to investigate a collision this week between a self-driving shuttle bus on its first day of service and a truck, which was blamed on human error.

The US National Transportation Safety Board, which has the power to issue safety recommendations and determines probable causes of crashes, wants to learn more about “how self-driving vehicles interact with their environment and the other human-driven vehicles around them,” said NTSB spokesman Christopher O‘Neil.

There have been other crashes involving self-driving vehicles but this was the first involving a self-driving vehicle operating in public service, O‘Neil said. Four NTSB investigators were expected to arrive in Las Vegas on Friday.

The Navya Arma, an autonomous and electric vehicle operated by Keolis North America, went into service on Wednesday. A few hours later, a delivery truck backed into the stopped shuttle, according to a reporter on the shuttle and one of its sponsor companies.

Las Vegas police issued the truck driver a ticket, the city government said in a blog post. The shuttle’s front end sustained minor damage, including a crumpled front fender, and resumed service on Thursday.

“The shuttle did what it was supposed to do, in that its sensors registered the truck and the shuttle stopped,” the city said.

The Automobile Association of America (AAA) of Southern Nevada, one of the shuttle’s sponsors, said it would assist the safety board’s investigation.

“Working together and sharing information will ensure this new technology is safely implemented for the public, and that’s AAA’s top priority,” the organization said in a statement.

The shuttle is also sponsored by the city of Las Vegas, Keolis North America and the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.

Reporter Jeff Zurschmeide, who was on the shuttle at the time of the crash, said the self-driving vehicle did what it was programmed to do but not everything a human driver might do.