New York (The Verge) — Self-driving shuttle company ordered to stop carrying passengers after injury trib.al/sfyInk9.
The DOT has suspended a shuttle operator on the same day it was criticized for being too hands-off by the NTSB during a Tesla hearing. The operator, EasyMile, runs 16 shuttles around the country and more around the world.
EasyMile currently operates its self-driving shuttles in a handful of US cities, including in Columbus, Ohio, where two of them have been running along a nearly 3-mile loop in a residential area at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour, according to Reuters. But last week, one of those shuttles made an “emergency stop” from a speed of just 7 miles per hour, and a passenger fell out of their seat as a result.
A local news report says the passenger “sought medical attention” and that Smart Columbus (the citywide transportation project that hired EasyMile) halted the service out of caution. The two shuttles started running the loop earlier this month.
Despite the agency taking a very hands-off approach to regulating autonomous vehicles under the Trump administration, this is not the first time NHTSA (which is part of the Department of Transportation) has intervened in a self-driving shuttle trial. In 2018, the agency suspended an autonomous school bus project in Florida that used EasyMile shuttles, calling the program “ — Sean O'Kane/@verge