Uber's self-driving cars still need a lot of human help

The self-driving cars of Uber are still far from being safe enough to be deployed without human drivers, according to internal reports of the ride-hailing service.

Last week, on average, human drivers testing Uber's self-driving cars had to take control of the vehicles every 0.8 miles to correct or prevent the auto from making a mistake, according to internal documents obtained by Recode. For the week of March 8, when dividing the total number of miles driven by the vehicles by the number of times that the driver needed to take over, it was seen that the human driver had to take control once every 0.8 miles, which is far from an ideal figure. That Uber's cars can not travel a mile without human intervention does not bode particularly well for a company whose future is predicated on its self-driving technology. While issues are to be expected with any sort of testing phase, the data we're seeing today suggests that Uber is having a hard time making significant progress.

Uber has launched self-driving cars in Pittsburgh and Phoenix.

According to Uber's documents, the cars still have "critical" interventions, which mean that the driver had to step in to prevent an accident that could have ended with hitting a pedestrian or causing property damage more than $5,000.

The worst week Uber had for critical interventions was the week of February 8, where cars only made it an average of 50 miles before the driver had perform one.

While self-driving cars aren't doing much self-driving just yet, the entire point of the road testing is to smooth out any any kinks. A peak of 4.5 miles per incident dates back to mid-January. Cars in Arizona are only getting 0.67 miles on average before a human needs to take control and only two miles between "critical" events.

Another graph shows the average miles a vehicle will go before the driver needs to make a "critical intervention". Last week, the cars went an average of 200 miles before drivers had to take over, although that average was only 114 miles a year before. In any case, be sure to check out the source link below to read Recode's full report.

  • Arturo Norris