Feds To Company: Stop Testing Autonomous Bus With Children

Feds To Company: Stop Testing Autonomous Bus With Children

The Transdev EZ10 Generation II autonomous shuttle.

Turns out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is a lot less fungible when it comes to children. The NHTSA sent a letter to Transdev demanding the mobility company cease using its EZ10 Generation II autonomous shuttle as a school bus.

Apparently, the NHTSA gave Transdev the greenlight to use its driverless shuttle for "testing and demonstration purposes." But not as a school bus with real (adolescent) passengers.

"Innovation must not come at the risk of public safety," said Heidi King, NHTSA's deputy administrator. "Using a noncompliant test vehicle to transport children is irresponsible, inappropriate and in direct violation of the terms of Transdev's approved test project."

The fully electric EZ10 Generation II autonomous shuttle can ferry 12 people at a top speed of 8 mph, and the company claims the shuttle reacts 30 times faster than a human driver.

Transdev debuted their shuttle last month at Florida’s Babcock Ranch, and while the company claims that “safety is always the company’s and the community’s No.  1 priority” and a safety attendant was there for each test run, the NHTSA was livid that real passengers were aboard.

And I can hardly blame them.

Logic says that autonomous vehicles are exponentially safer than human drivers. But if it were my kid, I wouldn’t entrust their safety to a machine (without irrefutable safety testimonials).

Read more here: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/nhtsa-transdev-stop-self-driving-shuttles-school-buses/