Nov 9, 2017

Self-driving shuttle's first day ends with an accident

The self-driving shuttle in Las Vegas. Photo: Sqoop

On Wednesday, AAA and transportation company Keolis debuted a 12-month test in Las Vegas for a self-driving shuttle designed by French startup Navya—but the vehicle's first day was cut short when it was hit by a semi-truck. The truck's driver was determined to be at fault, according to the city of Las Vegas, and was cited by local police.

Common thread: This incident is the latest to show that humans tend to make more driving errors than self-driving software. In a recent review of accident data from the California DMV, Axios found a similar pattern. Police said the shuttle "did what it was supposed to do" to avoid a crash and "had the truck had the same sensing equipment... the accident would have been avoided."

Go deeper

The next American struggle: Waiting out the coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There are now a lot of known knowns about the coronavirus: It's here, it's spreading, it's stressing hospitals, it's crippling the economy, it's slowed only by distance and isolation — and it's sure to get much worse before it gets much better. 

Why it matters: Similarly, there is a sameness to the pattern of known unknowns about the virus. So now we hit the maddening stage of waiting.

Coronavirus pushes traditional businesses into the digital age

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A slew of old-line industries that once hesitated to embrace digital technologies are now being forced to do so for the sake of survival.

Why it matters: Once consumers get used to accessing services digitally — from older restaurants finally embracing online ordering, or newspapers finally going all-digital — these industries may find it hard to go back to traditional operations.

America's grimmest month

Trump gives his Sunday press briefing in the Rose Garden. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump asked Americans to continue social distancing until April 30, officials warned that tens or even hundreds of thousands of Americans could die — and that's the least depressing scenario.

Why it matters: April is going to be very hard. But public health officials are in agreement that hunkering down — in our own homes — and weathering one of the darkest months in American history is the only way to prevent millions of American deaths.