Uber self-driving car program hits latest roadblock

Uber self-driving car program hits latest roadblock

Uber self-driving car program hits latest roadblock
(Credit: Reuters)

Taxi, ride-share and delivery company, Uber, has suspended its self-driving car program following a crash involving one of its vehicles in Arizona.

The police report into the incident suggests that “another vehicle failed to yield when turning left” in front an Uber SUV with self-driving capabilities.

The two vehicles subsequently collided, leaving the Uber vehicle on its side in the road in Tempe, Arizona late on Friday. No customers were in the vehicle, though two engineers were in the front seats. No one was hurt.

Police spokesperson, Josie Montenegro said: “There was a person behind the wheel. It is uncertain at this time if they were controlling the vehicle at the time of the collision.”

While the claim is that the other vehicle caused the accident, questions remain over whether the Uber vehicle should have been more effective in avoiding the collision.

Should the person behind the wheel – there is one in all Uber self-driving vehicles – have acted sooner? Could sensors have picked up the situation quicker?

As a consequence of this collision, Uber has taken all of its self-driving vehicles off the road, including at test sites in Pennsylvania and California, while it investigates the situation.

On Saturday, an Uber spokesperson said: “We are continuing to look into this incident and can confirm we had no back-seat passengers in the vehicle.”

Read more: US Department of Transportation wants help with automated vehicles

Another setback at Uber

This is just the latest in a series of setbacks for the company that have hit the headlines in recent months.

Uber faces a lawsuit from Alphabet’s self-driving car company, Waymo, which claims Uber stole trade secrets following its hiring of Anthony Levandowski, a former engineer on Google’s self-driving car team. Waymo is seeking an injunction to prevent Uber from using its technology.

Meanwhile, CEO Travis Kalanick is also investigating sexual harassment claims, while a number of executives have quit – most notably company president Jeff Jones.

Read more: Cloudera: Connected car data is a safety issue