Testing of a low speed autonomous shuttle on the Texas A&M campus has been delayed until an issue between the shuttle’s manufacturer and federal transportation authorities can be worked out.
Officials of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) halted the research demonstration Tuesday afternoon. Although the shuttle has been operating in the U.S. for some time, the issue revolves around restrictions placed on specific uses of the vehicle when it was originally imported from France in 2015.
Researchers with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) expressed disappointment with the delay, noting that safety of the test itself was not the issue.
“We are disappointed by the delay, of course, but understand the federal government’s need to ensure that all restrictions are strictly observed,” TTI Director Greg Winfree said. “We hope Navya (the shuttle’s manufacturer) and NHTSA can resolve the issue so that the test can ultimately be conducted.”
The planned demonstration route for the 12-mph electric vehicle at Texas A&M did not involve operation on public streets.
The Navya AutoNOM shuttle is a commercially available vehicle which has been in operation since 2015. Navya currently has more than 95 vehicles operating in 17 different countries.