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  • By John R. Quain

Self-Driving Shuttle Decides to Stop in Columbus

Out in Columbus, Ohio, city of smart systems, the folks behind the self-driving shuttle have had to suspend service after an unexpected stop.

The autonomous shuttle is the gen 3 model from EasyMile, outfitted with lidar, cameras, and radar (plus a trained human monitor on board). It debuted on its predetermined 2.7-mile route in Linden back on February 2, 2020. Last Thursday, it stopped in the middle of its route for no apparent reason. According to a spokesperson for smart Columbus, it was an "e stop" or emergency stop, however the vehicle was only doing 5.6 mph, about the speed of a brisk walk.

According to the local paper, the lack of velocity didn't prevent one female passenger from sliding off her seat. (Like a standard city bus, there are no seat belts on the EasyMile shuttle.) She apparently called 911 and then went to the hospital, although there were apparently no serious injuries.

Meanwhile, EasyMile folks have arrived in Columbus to suss out the problem. The shuttle with be out of commission until they figure out what went wrong and clear it with NHTSA (unlike a particular EV company who shall remain nameless).

Typically, these slow-moving autonomous shuttles are exceedingly cautious, stopping whenever a pedestrian gets anywhere near them or their senors alert them to any obstruction. I asked about the weather and according to the spokesperson it was clear and in the middle of the day when the shuttle stopped.

At least it wasn't a bunch of kids pelting it with snow balls.

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