An autonomous shuttle bus that crashed into a tree last month in Whitby, Ontario was being manually operated by the safety driver at the time of the collision.
The safety driver was seriously injured in the crash and transported to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
According to a statement by the Durham Regional Police Service, their investigation determined the shuttle was not in autonomous mode in the moments leading up to crash.
“The resulting investigation has found that the vehicle was being operated in manual mode prior to, and at the time the vehicle left the roadway. Therefore, the hazard mitigation safety systems designed for the vehicle while in autonomous mode were disabled at the time of the collision,” the statement said.
The good news is that the 23-year old male safety driver has been discharged from hospital. He is now at home and expected to make a full recovery.
The crash took place at around 4:00pm on December 17. Witnesses said the shuttle somehow lost control, jumped the curb and slammed into a tree. The safety operator was the only person on board at the time of the accident.
Following the crash, the City of Toronto halted its trial of a self-driving shuttle pending the results of the investigation. The city has not yet announced if it has restarted.