Uber halts self-driving car programme after US crash

"While California puts the brakes on innovation and change with more bureaucracy and more regulation, Arizona is paving the way for new technology and new businesses".

Uber's fleet of self-driving cars are now in Phoenix, Pittsburgh and San Francisco and all of the cars were pulled off streets by Saturday.

The company will suspend tests in both Arizona and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania while it investigates the incident.

Although Uber was not at fault in the Arizona accident, the incident is problematic for the company, which has gone head-to-head with regulators as it has tried to persuade cities to allow public testing of its autonomous vehicles.

Uber launched its self-driving-car pilot in Arizona in late December following a dispute with California regulators over the program.

The outcome of that legal fight could affect Uber's future significantly. A former Uber engineer, Susan Fowler, claimed she suffered over a year of sexual harassment from fellow employees. During a recent press call, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick committed to changing "the current state of Uber's culture" and working on a complete transformation of the ride-hailing company. A self-driving vehicle operated by Alphabet Inc's Google was involved in a crash a year ago in Mountain View, California, striking a bus while attempting to navigate around an obstacle. The collision caused Uber's vehicle to roll over on to its side. Uber attributed those mistakes to human error, but internal documents showed that the cars didn't recognize the lights.

Shortly after the San Francisco testing began, one of Uber's self-driving cars failed to recognise a stoplight and sailed through a crosswalk.

In February, Alphabet's Waymo self-driving auto unit sued Uber and its Otto autonomous trucking subsidiary, alleging theft of proprietary sensor technology.

  • Zachary Reyes