Smart Columbus suspends self-driving shuttles from roads after malfunction

Two autonomous shuttles began running as part of a pilot program earlier this month

February 25, 2020
Smart Columbus Linden Leap shuttle opening
The Linden LEAP self-driving shuttle launched in early February. Image: @SmartCbus via Twitter

Smart Columbus has temporarily halted its self-driving shuttle pilot program in the city's Linden neighborhood after one unexpectedly stopped last week, causing a female passenger to fall from her seat.

According to a report from the Columbus Dispatch, the Linden LEAP shuttle had just left a community recreation center around noon on Thursday when it came to an unplanned complete stop on the street. The woman who fell from her seat reportedly sought medical attention after the incident for minor injuries.

Officials reportedly notified the U.S. DOT and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the occurrence, and have halted the autonomous shuttle service for the time being.

The Columbus City Council approved $1.1 million for a contract with EasyMile to deliver the automated vehicle shuttle service in May 2019, according to reports. The two shuttles began running as part of a pilot program earlier this month; the pilot program is scheduled to end in February 2021. 

According to the Smart Columbus website, a trained operator is required to be on board at all times to monitor the shuttle and take over if needed. It also says the shuttle will never go faster than 15 mph and will typically travel around 12 mph.

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SOURCE: Columbus Dispatch

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