Uber's self-driving cars back on road after crash in Arizona

Cheryl Sanders
April 9, 2017

Uber temporarily suspended the program after one of its self-driving SUVs was involved in a serious accident in Tempe, Arizona. on Friday evening. Unfortunately, a crash involving one of their driverless cars in Arizona has caused the company to suspend the pilot program in those three cities. Forging ahead, Uber began testing their autonomous vehicle program in Tempe, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco.

But on Monday, Uber said it felt confident returning its cars to the road.

Uber's vehicle, which had engineers in the front two seats and no one in the back, was in self-driving mode at the time of the collision, local cop Josie Montenegro told reporters.

Uber recently announced that it will be the first company to launch a pilot program where passengers will be carried using vehicles with high level autonomy.

Tempe police spokeswoman Josie Montenegros said that the incident took place when the other vehicle "couldn't yield" while making a left turn.

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Initial police report suggests that Uber's vehicle was not to be blamed, but other auto failed to yield to Uber's vehicle, which caused the self-driving auto to flip on its side. But the report said the cars needed a human driver to take over about once per mile.

Police said the self-driving SUV was obeying the law and the driver in the other auto who didn't yield was cited for a moving violation after the Friday night crash.

The on-demand ride service grounded its test fleet of self-driving cars pending an investigation into a crash of an Uber autonomous vehicle in Arizona.

It was "uncertain" whether the vehicle was driving itself at the time of the accident or if the operator sitting behind the wheel was in control, said Tempe police Sgt. Damon DeSpain.

The company is also being sued by Waymo, a self-driving tech firm owned by Google's parent company Alphabet, for allegedly stealing a key component of its proprietary autonomous navigation technology.

A number of executives have left the company in recent weeks, including Uber president, Jeff Jones, as troubles have mounted.

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