Local Motors, an Arizona-based manufacturer of autonomous shuttle buses, which is known for its Olli-bus, has performed the first crash tests with its shuttles. The company made headlines when on the first day of CES 2018 its shuttle collided with a semi truck. The blame was with the driver of the semi truck, who didn’t notice the bus when backing up.
Now The Verge reports about the first crash tests performed by Local Motors. And not just one off their regular shuttles, but a 3D-printed on. With a speed of 25mph the bus crashed into a structure. While the bus’ strucure survived the impact, the glasses completely shattered.
A crash at such a speed has certainly effects on passengers. But this crash test was performed without crash test dummies. Next tests are expected to include them. Those tests should demonstrate how a 3D-printed structure can be stable enough.
Here is another test with a 3D-printed shuttle at a speed of 5mph.
Such autonomous shuttles are manufactured and offered by multiple companies. Besides Local Motors there are also Navya and Easy Miles. Those minibuses are being tested and used in quite a number off regions and are also the opportunity for a wider public to experience autonomous vehicles first hand. Even that it is expected that autonomous vehicles will reduce crashes by 80 to 90 percent in the future, the early phases will see the operation of such vehicles in a mixed traffic scenario with manual driven cars, with passive safety systems still playing an important role.
This article was also published in German.