First publishedon www.ITSInternational.com
A 76-year-old passenger travelling on an autonomous shuttle has been injured after the vehicle came to an unexpected stop, says KUTV.
Gene Petrie, an employee at the Utah State Tax Commission, was thrown from his seat and hit the handrail near the door, resulting in bruising and black eyes.
Charlie Roberts, spokesman for the Utah State Tax Commission, is quoted saying: “Out of the clear blue, it suddenly stopped, and it wasn’t a slow-down stop. It was a sudden stop.”
Petrie went to the hospital for treatment and returned to work the next day. He is a state worker travelling on the shuttle near the Multi Agency State Office Building while the Utah Department of Transportation (UDoT) is testing the technology.
John Gleason, UDoT spokesman, says: “As soon as this happened, we took the shuttle out of service immediately for about 24 hours and ran a bunch of tests on it, ran through the emergency stops, looked at the software, looked at the sensors.”
The cause of the sudden stop is unknown as no one noticed a pedestrian or obstacle that may have tripped a sensor.
“You hate to see an incident like that, but we’re confident in the overall safety of the shuttle and we’ve taken a lot of precautions to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again,” Gleason adds.
The UDoT has reduced the shuttle’s speed from 12 miles per hour to 9. The operator is now more frequently warning people that abrupt stops are possible.