Florida Self Driving Bus Program is Shut Down

When you enroll in a Florida traffic school, you learn about the rules of the road and how to follow them. This is to ensure a safe driving experience for yourself and everyone else traveling on the roads. At least that’s the mentality one French company had when they introduced a self-driving shuttle bus to the Florida community of Babcock Ranch.

However, this good intention has been met with harsh criticism. The self-driving shuttle bus was transporting children to school, and now has been shut down due to government interference. How do you take your kids to NY school in 2018?People of the small town, and the rest of the country, have been considering what went wrong. Here’s the story behind why the self-driving bus project has been shut down.

About the Company Behind the Bus

Transdev is a French owned company with a branch in North America. Recently, they had developed a driverless shuttle and began testing it in the Babcock Ranch school district with students as passengers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stepped in late last month to prevent the further testing of the autonomous bus.

The test was believed to be an “inappropriate” risk, which was putting the lives of children in the hands of computer. Earlier this year, there have been numerous deaths and accidents regarding self-driving cars striking pedestrians. This has encouraged people to critically assess the safety behind autonomous cars - which were already being scrutinized.

One of the biggest concerns came from the fear of putting child lives in danger. Heidi King, the deputy of NHTSA issued a statement saying, “Innovation must not come at the risk of public safety.” This echoed the thoughts the federal government had surrounding the new autonomous vehicles.

Along with this, the federal government cracked down on the Transdev because of stark importation violation. They were reported to be in “unlawful and in violation of the company’s temporary importation authorization.”

This is from the permissions granted to the French owned company back in March. The government had given Transdev the ability to use the autonomous buses for “testing and demonstration purposes, but not as a school bus.” When the government had interrupted the shuttle service, the company had been using the autonomous vehicle as a school bus.

To make matters worse for the company, Transdev published a press release in August stating their intention to use their newly created model as a means of school transportation for students.

More About the Bus

The self-driving buses had a simple design. They could seat up to 12 passengers during any given commute. Additionally, the buses would travel 8 MPH and could travel as quickly as 30 MPH. These vehicles were operated by a computer, but they were accompanied by a safety professional considering emergencies or faulty troubles.

This bus incident became a learning pain for the NHTSA allowing it to revise the regulation behind self-driving cars. Now, the NHTSA is pushing for safety rules to require autonomous cars to be equipped with steering wheels, pedals, and mirrors. This is to accommodate self-driving cars in their growth to become more streamlined for a greater market.

Since the Transdev incident, the company has agreed to halt further testing of their autonomous bus. They are still in plans to further test and produce a self-driving vehicle but are currently working with the NHTSA to decide their future in Florida. The repercussions associated with the further testing of the self-driving shuttle would result in Transdev’s permissions being revoked and hefty monetary fines.