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An autonomous bus has been involved in an accident in Austria. The shuttle bus is one of two Navya SAS Shuttles that are being tested for autonomous public transportation in the capital city of Vienna. The shuttle bus ran into a pedestrian, prompting officials to halt testing and start an investigation.
For ages now, we have been hearing that the future is electric and that the future is autonomous. The future is here already. There are several electric vehicles that can be bought off showroom floors in many countries across the world.
Autonomous vehicles are well into their final stages of development. Level 3 autonomous vehicles are already in widespread use in most developed countries and is seeing lots of interest from developing countries.
Level 3 autonomous vehicles look and feel like regular vehicles and it comes complete with a steering wheel and pedals for the driver to take control of the vehicle. The vehicle will be able to drive itself in certain conditions only, including on freeways and expressways.
It relies on technologies like LiDAR and other sensors to drive in autonomous mode. However, the driver should be ready to take control of the vehicle at any given moment. Most manufacturers are looking to step up directly to level-5 autonomy which does not require any human involvement in the vehicle's movement.
In-fact several companies are already testing level-5 autonomous vehicles. The Navya SAS Shuttle is one such autonomous vehicle that is being tested. Vienna started testing these driverless buses last month with the involvement of the Austrian Institute of Technology and Siemens Mobility.
The buses were being tested to prove their reliability and accident-free autonomous driving when the incident happened. Media reports stated that the vehicle was moving at a speed of 12km/h when it ran into a 30-year-old-woman.
Since the incident happened at a low speed, the woman did not sustain major injuries. Vienna's authorities however, temporarily suspended testing. Navya said in a statement, "The autonomous shuttle was specifically designed to meet the needs of an autonomous, driverless vehicle while also optimizing navigation and safety features."
"With neither a steering wheel nor pedals, Autonom Shuttle uses effective guidance and detection systems that combine various types of advanced technology. Data from Lidar sensors, cameras, GPS RTK, IMU and odometry is merged together and interpreted by deep learning programs.
Thoughts On Autonomous Bus Runs Into Pedestrian In Austria
Autonomous vehicles are here already, but they are still a long way off from being put into everyday practical use. It will take a lot of time and effort to bring these autonomous vehicles into action in a reliable and dependable manner. This incident thankfully happened at low speed, but could have been much worse if the bus had been at higher speeds.