For the first time in the United States, an autonomous bus will be ferrying passengers along the streets of a city. The shuttle bus known as Arma and made by the French electric carmaker Navya will traverse through Fremont Street driver-less through traffic in Las Vegas for two weeks.
As reported by the Verge, this is a performance trial for the Arma autonomous car to run from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. every day for two weeks. The shuttle ride will be free for the duration of the trial and will ride through Fremont Street between Las Vegas Boulevard and Eight Street.
The Arma is an electric self-driven car that can cruise at a speed of 27 miles per hour. For the duration of the trial, however, the speed will be kept at a maximum speed of 12 miles per hour. The car carries 12 passengers at a time.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is contemplating on operating a fleet of Arma cars to operate in the city. She hopes that the $10,000 cost of the Arma can be covered by advertisements which can be placed on the vehicle's sides and displayed in the screens set up inside the bus. Goodman believes this system is ideal for commuters that want to take rides within the city.
The Las Vegas Sun said that Goodman rode on the test shuttle bus along Fremont Street on Tuesday. "What a wonderful day for all of us to witness this," Goodman is reported to have said. "Being the control freak that I am, I was very nervous to get on this vehicle, but it is clean, has beautiful air and moves sort of swiftly but so beautifully down Fremont East."
The French company Navya has had previous experience with self-driving shuttles in Paris since October of 2015 and is presently sharing its experience by expanding its operations in the U.S. For this project, it has coordinated well with the City of Las Vegas and Keolis, the biggest transport company in France.