Las Vegas expands its self-driving shuttle tests this week

Las Vegas’ initial self-driving shuttle trial clearly went well, as the city is coming back for another round. AAA and Vegas are launching a year-long trial on November 8th that will see one of Navya’s shuttles drive a half-mile circuit in the downtown Fremont East district. It’ll only make three stops each way, and it’ll putter about at typical speeds between 10MPH and 15MPH, but it’ll give you a chance to see how driverless mass transit works in real life for extended periods. The city has fitted traffic signals with wireless sensors to help them coordinate with the shuttle as it navigates the streets.

You’ll also have an incentive to board. AAA is promising to donate $1 to the Las Vegas Victim’s Fund for every passenger, with a minimum $100,000 pledge.

This isn’t a bold commitment to self-driving technology given the modest route. It’s going to be a long, long while before you can take a robotic ride to see a lounge show on the Strip. However, a successful test could make the case for more permanent rollouts both in Vegas and across the US. There could come a time where you can take an autonomous shuttle whenever you need it — not just when human drivers are available.

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