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Gainesville’s autonomous vehicle program halted

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Gainesville’s autonomous shuttle has been temporarily halted because of safety concerns. It began operating on February 3.

A South Carolina woman was injured on February 20 when the Smart Columbus shuttle made an unexpected stop and she fell from her seat onto the floor.

As a result, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) suspended all passenger operations in the U.S. for the EasyMile shuttles, including Gainesville’s shuttle. The vehicles can operate but can’t carry passengers.

EasyMile said, “We continuously work to improve it and the comfort of passengers, and are running test loops on the ground for further analysis into the suddenness of the stop. We also train our Customer Service Ambassadors to remind passengers to hold on when the vehicle is in motion and place signage in the shuttles to the same effect.”