Uber restarts self-driving passenger pilots in Arizona and Pittsburgh

A spokeswoman said Uber ended its suspension of the testing program in Tempe and Pittsburgh yesterday, following an investigation into the incident which involved one of its Volvo SUV self-driving test vehicles.

Two "safety" drivers were in the front seats of the Uber auto, which was in self-driving mode at the time of the crash, Uber said on Friday, a standard requirement for its self-driving vehicles.

The ride-hailing company resumed testing on Monday in Tempe, San Francisco and Pittsburgh the northeastern US state of Pennsylvania, according to local media reports.

The company had also grounded self-driving cars in San Francisco over the weekend but they resumed operating earlier on Monday. In December, Uber moved its cars from San Francisco to Arizona after a standoff with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Uber said yesterday that the operations had been paused over the weekend in order to better understand what had happened in Arizona, but now felt confident of returning the cars to the road. "There were no serious injuries", she said.

Since Uber started testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh last September its autonomous vehicles in the area, Ford Fusion cars retrofitted with Uber's driverless tech, have been picking up passengers in the city.

On Friday, the day of the crash, Uber temporarily suspended its autonomous testing program.

"Our cars will be back on the road in Tempe and Pittsburgh later today", an Uber spokeswoman told Reuters. Two safety drivers were in the vehicle at the time, but neither of them were seriously injured. Uber has said Waymo's claims are false. Uber is now investigating claims of sexism and sexual harassment in the workplace, and CEO Travis Kalanick recently said the company plans to hire a COO. Uber had refused to apply for the necessary permit to test autonomous vehicles on public roads, and the DMV revoked the registration of 16 Uber self-driving cars. Most of the accidents were minor and weren't caused by Waymo's vehicles.

  • Zachary Reyes