Whitby, Ontario — A self-driving shuttle bus crashed into a tree in Whitby, Ontario, Thursday afternoon, sending the vehicle’s operator to a nearby trauma centre with life-threatening injuries.
Durham Regional Police said the collision happened around 4 p.m. along the Whitby Autonomous Vehicle Electric (WAVE) Shuttle route, which circles a six-kilometre route near the city’s GO Train station. It operates at a speed of no more than 20 km/h, is equipped with radar and a 360-degree camera to scan for obstacles.
“There was one operator on board,” said acting Sgt. George Tudos. “No pedestrians or any passengers [were on board,] so that one person did suffer critical injuries.”
The cause of the crash is unknown.
“We are doing a parallel investigation with the Ministry of Labour to try to determine exactly what happened,” Tudos said.
The WAVE bus only hit the streets in early November as part of a pilot project to learn more about how autonomous technologies can contribute to safer, more sustainable and connected transit and traffic operations.
WAVE’s self-driving shuttle operations have been suspended until a full investigation is completed.