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Linden's Driverless Shuttles Temporarily Shut Down After Passenger Injured

Smart Columbus self-driving shuttles are coming to Linden.
Smart Columbus
Smart Columbus has halted its self-driving shuttles in Linden after a passenger was injured.

The Linden Leap autonomous shuttles will stay off the roads until investigators determine what caused one to stop unexpectedly last Thursday afternoon, injuring one passenger.

Last week, one of the vehicles braked suddenly with two passengers and an operator on board, after leaving the Douglas Community Recreation Center. A woman sustained minor injuries after falling to the floor.

Smart Columbus spokeswoman Alyssa Chenault says the self-driving shuttles are parked for now.

“Once we and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration are satisfied, then we’ll move forward to putting the vehicles back on route," says Chenault.

Chenault says the shuttle service has carried about 50 riders since the pilot service began earlier this month.

“We’ve said that this is a pilot where we’re testing new technology," Chenault says. "We’re learning from it, and in the case of the Linden pilot, we’re using it to improve the lives of our residents and close transportation gaps. So we’re really looking to get to the bottom of what happened.”

The Linden Leap shuttles debuted earlier this month. It's the first daily driverless shuttle route in a residential area anywhere in the nation.

Shuttles are free to ride and can seat up to 12 passengers, and have an operator onboard to oversee the technology. The one-year pilot program is funded through a $40 million Smart Columbus transportation grant.

Columbus also operates a driverless shuttle route along the Scioto Mile.

Debbie Holmes began her career in broadcasting in Columbus after graduating from The Ohio State University. She left the Buckeye state to pursue a career in television news and worked as a reporter and anchor in Moline, Illinois and Memphis, Tennessee.