Composite screenshot of Orlando city website and @samorlando220 TikTok video
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A driverless shuttle bus in Florida got into a minor crash this week, just two days after the service began running.
Last Sunday, the city of Orlando launched the SWAN Shuttle to much fanfare. Short for Shuttling with Autonomous Navigation and powered by Beep technologies, the SWAN Shuttle was designed to offer residents an alternative form of public transportation along a one-mile loop in the Creative Village area, free of charge.
The stated purpose for developing the SWAN Shuttle was to find "innovative transportation technologies to decrease single-car users on our roadways," the city's website said.
"We’re excited to reveal our SWAN Shuttle!" the city tweeted last week.
Orlando already offers a traditional bus service, LYMMO, through a partnership with Lynx, so the SWAN Shuttle plays only a small supporting role in public transportation, running along the LYMMO's Orange Line during off-peak hours. The SWAN Shuttle is currently on a trial run for the next six months, and some officials hope to expand the driverless shuttle service to other parts of the city as well, if all goes well.
But just two days after the celebrated launch, all did not go well. Shortly after 1 p.m. on Tuesday, the SWAN Shuttle collided with a LYMMO bus on Terry Avenue as the bus was trying to make a right turn.
A passenger on the SWAN Shuttle was recording his experience on the new service and caught the moment when the shuttle did not slow down or otherwise make any adjustments even as the LYMMO bus, directed by a human driver, crossed into its path. The passenger, identified on social media as Sam Gallaher, then posted a video of the crash to TikTok, where it has already racked up more than 33,000 likes and even more views.
"Tried out the new SWAN Shuttle auntonmous shuttle in Downtown Orlando today," Gallaher wrote in the caption. "We crashed. #Beep."
Tried out the new SWAN Shuttle auntonmous shuttle in Downtown Orlando today. We crashed. #Beep
No one aboard either vehicle was injured in the incident, and the vehicles themselves suffered only "minor cosmetic damage," WKMG reported.
"There was no impact to service in this area as LYMMO buses are on standby to fill in as part of the autonomous shuttle pilot plan. SWAN Shuttle service will be provided along the route at 6:30 p.m. today as planned," said a spokesperson for the Orlando Police Department.
Beep technologies, which developed the shuttle, did not respond to a request for comment from the Sun.
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Sr. Editor, News
Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.