Las Vegas is beginning to test fully autonomous electric shuttles, Las Vegas Sun said this week. The test program will runs now, between January 11 and January 20. Uber and other cars are already testing autonomous vehicles on public roads, but this is the first shuttle bus of its kind.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman took one of the first rides on the autonomous shuttle bus and walked away impressed. “Being the control freak that I am, I was very nervous to get on this vehicle, but it is clean, has beautiful air and moves sort of swiftly but so beautifully down Fremont East,” Goodman told Las Vegas Sun.
The ARMA shuttle bus, developed by NAYA and Keolis, is free to ride and is capable of carrying up to 12 people at a time. It will operate between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. between Eight Street and Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas Sun said. Keep an eye out if you’re in the area, as the autonomous shuttle bus will actually run right on the same roads as cars with human drivers.
This isn’t a permanent feature of Las Vegas just yet, though it’s very plausible it could one day call Vegas home. Navya told Las Vegas Sun that the company hopes to offset costs of running the shuttle buses with advertisements and said, if all goes well during these tests, the vehicles could be running regularly later this year.
Nevada has helped usher in a new age of autonomous driving and is one state where multiple manufacturers test new autonomous technology thanks to forward-thinking laws. Google obtained the first autonomous vehicle driver license back in 2012 in Nevada, for example, and Tesla chose Nevada as the location for its new Gigafactory.