The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has ordered the French-based transport company Transdev to cease testing a self-driving school bus in Florida, reports the BBC. The NHTSA had given Transdev the green light to import its self-driving vehicle in March, but says it did not give the company permission to use it as a school bus or to transport human passengers.
In a statement, Heidi King, the NHTSA deputy administrator, said, “Innovation must not come at the risk of public safety. Using a non-compliant test vehicle to transport children is irresponsible, inappropriate, and in direct violation of the terms of Transdev’s approved test project.”
Transdev, for its part, said it believed that the NHTSA’s prior approval of the pilot also meant that both adults and children were permitted to ride in its vehicle, which operated at 8 mph, but had a top speed of 30 mph. Upon receiving the cease-and-desist instructions from the NHTSA, Transdev stopped the pilot a week earlier than scheduled and noted that “[the] small pilot was operating safely, without any issues, in a highly controlled environment.”