Business Essentials for Professionals


After Arizona Crash, Self-Driving Car Program Suspended By Uber

After Arizona Crash, Self-Driving Car Program Suspended By Uber
Following a vehicle equipped with the nascent technology crashed on an Arizona roadway, Uber Technologies Inc suspended its pilot program for driverless cars on Saturday, the ride-hailing company and local police said.
Uber however said that no serious injuries were caused by the accident which is the latest one that involved a self-driving vehicle operated by one of several companies experimenting with autonomous vehicles.
Pending the outcome of investigation into the crash on Friday evening in Tempe, Uber said it was grounding driverless cars involved in a pilot program in Arizona, Pittsburgh and San Francisco despite no causalities being caused.
"We are continuing to look into this incident," an Uber spokeswoman said in an email.
Josie Montenegro, a spokeswoman for the Tempe Police Department, said that the accident occurred when the driver of a second vehicle "failed to yield" to the Uber vehicle, while making a turn.
"The vehicles collided, causing the autonomous vehicle to roll onto its side," she said in an email. "There were no serious injuries."
Uber said in an email that as is a standard requirement for its self-driving vehicles, at the time of the crash there were two 'safety' drivers who were in the front seats of the Uber car and he car was the in self-driving mode. There were no passengers on the back seat.  
A Volvo SUV flipped on its side after an apparent collision involving two other, slightly damaged cars, showed photos and a video posted on Twitter by Fresco News, a service that sells content to news outlets. The images appeared to be from the Tempe crash scene, Uber said.
Its driverless cars "require human intervention in many conditions, including bad weather",, said Uber when the company had launched the pilot program in Pittsburgh last year. The potential to reduce the number of traffic accidents in the country were possible with the new technology, the company had also said.
There have been such accidents with self driving cars and hence this accident is not the first time for a self-driving getting involved in a collision. In a collision with a truck in Williston, Florida in 2016, a driver of a Tesla Motors Inc Model S car operating in autopilot mode was killedSstriking a bus while attempting to navigate around an obstacle, last year in Mountain View, California, a self-driving vehicle operated by Alphabet Inc's Google was also involved in a crash.
And Uer itself is in a bit of turmoil and in the latest in a string of high-level executives who have departed in recent months, Uber's former president Jeff Jones quit less than seven months after joining the San Francisco-based company, and the collision comes days after Jones’s leaving the  company.
Alleging theft of proprietary sensor technology, Alphabet's Waymo self-driving car unit sued Uber and its Otto autonomous trucking subsidiary in February.

Christopher J. Mitchell

Markets | Companies | M&A | Innovation | People | Management | Lifestyle | World | Misc