... Skip to content

EasyMile autonomous shuttles barred from carrying passengers

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

Jason Levine, the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, said the decision to halt EasyMile’s operations might have been the right move.
But he said the announcement, coming on the same day as a National Transportation Safety Board hearing during which NHTSA was faulted for its oversight of Tesla’s partially automated cars, “smacks of a PR stunt.”


Ian Duncan 
Feb. 29, 2020

The self-driving shuttle had just pulled away from the curb in a Columbus, Ohio, neighborhood and had not even reached 10 mph, but the sudden stop was enough to fling its safety operator across the inside and throw a passenger from her seat.

The seemingly unexplained incident a few weeks ago, captured by onboard cameras, led federal highway safety regulators to take swift action and all but order the vehicles off the road while they launched a review. In a letter to operators using the same kind of shuttle, an official with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wrote that continuing to carry passengers “may present an unacceptable safety risk.”

As the footage from the Columbus shuttle begins, the safety operator and two passengers are aboard, chatting with one another about how the shuttle works. In mid-sentence, the operator is thrown from his feet.

The operator starts the shuttle back up to get it out of the road.

“No, don’t move this damn thing it just threw me out of my f—ing seat,” says one of the passengers. “Why are we moving?”

The city fire department sent medics, who took the 44-year-old woman to the hospital with minor injuries.

NHTSA said the suspension order affects 16 French-made EasyMile shuttles being used in projects in 10 states.

Two of them are in Virginia: one at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the other in a partnership between Fairfax County and utility Dominion Energy. But neither project is carrying passengers, and officials say they do not expect the NHTSA order to disrupt their plans.

Read the whole article from The Washington Post.