Paramedics responded to the scene of a crash at the intersection of Broadway and Main Street in Dunedin on Thursday, June 24, 2021 shortly before 6 p.m.
The accident involved an elderly woman and AVA, an autonomous vehicle. The woman was transported to the hospital as a trauma alert. Preliminary information indicated she experienced a traumatic injury to her foot including broken bones.
Further infomation is limited at this time. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is exploring the potential use of autonomous vehicles such as AVA, in Pinellas County.
AVA’s route just recently moved onto Main Street, on June 16th running most days from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.
In a statement from PSTA, “Safety is always our number one priority, and we are saddened to learn that someone was injured today. Preliminary information suggests the accident occurred while AVA was in manual mode and was driven by an onboard operator. PSTA will still conduct an internal review to determine the exact cause of the accident and if any changes are necessary. Meantime, AVA service will be temporarily suspended.”
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the Dunedin crash.
ABOUT AVA (from PSTA)
There are many benefits of riding in an Autonomous Vehicle, like AVA, over most traditional vehicles. AVA is less driver errors, is better for the environment, and has the potential to provide greater connectivity for riders. AVA is equipped to transport passengers with ADA needs with a Q’Straint system onboard.
With the use of LiDar sensors, AVA has more eyes on the road than a human driver possibly could. This results in safe transportation for riders, and other vehicles on the road.
AVA is 100% electric. Using electricity generated from a power plant burns less fossil fuel and is more efficient than generating power / fuel for personal use (i.e., the internal combustion engine on a vehicle). AVA can drive for 9 hours on just a few dollars of electricity. In addition, fewer moving parts means less environmental impact due to reduced maintenance and AVA has no consumable fluids onboard, like oil or engine coolant, that can harm the environment.
In the future, autonomous vehicles such as AVA could be used as a permanent circulator service or a first mile / last mile solution to areas not served by PSTA’s network. This would help to alleviate traffic congestion around downtown areas.