Uber stops self-driving cars test programme after Arizona crash

The ride-hailing company is pulling vehicles from streets in Pittsburgh, Tempe and California, while it investigates the incident in which a Volvo XC90 sport-utility vehicle operated by Uber was upended.

The autonomous cars of Uber always have on board an engineer who can take orders at any time. While Uber blamed human error and later, the New York Times reported that the company's internal documents reported that the cars were failing to recognise red light at traffic signals. "There was a person behind the wheel", said Sergeant Josie Montenegro, media relations and public information officer for Tempe Police Department. The company later expanded its test site to Arizona after its attempt to field self-driving cars in San Francisco was botched by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Uber also grounded self-driving cars in San Francisco over the weekend, but resumed operations earlier yesterday.

According to the photos posted on Twitter, Uber's grey self-driving Volvo SUV was lying on its side next to another severely damaged vehicle.

Uber Technologies Inc. on Saturday halted a pilot program for self-driving vehicles following an accident on Saturday in Arizona.

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 in an email, a standard requirement for its self-driving vehicles.

The incident was another hiccup in what has been a bumpy rollout locally of Uber's self-driving cars. In almost all cases, the cars have backup drivers who can take the wheel in an emergency.

Initial police reports suggest the collision when the other vehicle "failed to yield" while making a left turn.

Last year, a Florida driver operating a Tesla Model S in autopilot mode was killed in a collision with a truck.

Crashes are not good for a company that professes to provide self driving cabs. Including the president, Jeff Jones, a number of executives have quit in recent weeks.

  • Zachary Reyes