Visitors to Sin City can gamble on the future of transportation by taking a ride in a self-driving shuttle bus.
The Hop On Shuttle sponsored by the American Automobile Association (AAA) is totally free, and cruising the Freemont East Entertainment District in downtown Las Vegas. The shuttle passes through eight intersections, six traffic lights, and two stop signs without ta driver.
The ugly-looking shuttle is a social science experiment to gauge public attitudes about self-driving vehicles, the AAA admitted. In exchange for a ride, passengers have to fill out a survey about the experience.
The AAA is partnering with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC), the City of Las Vegas, and a company called Keolis North America for the experiment. The shuttle itself was manufactured by a French company called NAVYA.
NAVYA is marketing what it calls “Autonom shuttles” and cabs for use at hospitals, airports, resorts, college campuses, military bases, and other closed environments. The autom shuttle is also being pushed as an urban transportation solution.
Is the AAA Gambling with Passengers’ Lives?
The AAA is promoting the Hop On Shuttle by donating $1 to the fund for the victims of the October 1 2017 shooting spree in Las Vegas. It is also promoting the wedding of the future by trying to find a couple willing to get hitched on the autonom shuttle, ZDNet reported Winners will get married on the vehicle.
AAA’s social science experiment raises serious ethical questions about the testing of autonomous vehicles. One has to wonder what the public reaction will be. Such experiments might slow the rollout of a potentially life-saving technology; autonomous vehicles, if they go wrong.
Hopefully the AAA’s experiment will prove the utility and safety of autonomous shuttles by gambling with passenger’s lives. If it fails, everybody might lose from the AAA’s gamble.