DOT Suspends EasyMile Autonomous Shuttles After Injury
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced on Tuesday that the agency suspended operations for 16 of EasyMile’s autonomous vehicles in the U.S., pending an examination of safety issues related to vehicle technology and operations.
The suspension follows an apparent braking incident in Columbus, Ohio, in which one passenger was reportedly hurt, the agency said in a statement.
EasyMile operates vehicles in Delaware, Utah, Texas, Ohio, California, Colorado, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia and New Jersey.
The DOT's suspension could impact the planned expansion of an autonomous shuttle program in Houston. METRO Houston, which operates an EasyMile autonomous shuttle in partnership with Texas Southern University, confirmed that it halted operations of the vehicle on Tuesday afternoon.
"The status of the pilot is pending the outcome of the federal government’s review and authorization to resume operations. Approximately 7,900 rides have safely been provided without incident in the University District Vehicle since the inception of METRO’s AV shuttle pilot in June 2019," METRO Chief Innovation Officer Kimberly Williams said in a statement.
Testing for the second phase was scheduled to begin this summer, with service slated to begin in the fall.