Uber Grounds Self-Driving Car Fleet After Serious Arizona Crash
Uber is suspending its entire self-driving car program while it investigates a serious crash of one of its vehicles in Arizona.
Uber confirmed the accident after a photo was posted on Twitter showing an Uber SUV Volvo on its side next to another dented car with broken windows. The crash occurred in Tempe, but Uber offered few other details. A spokeswoman told Tech Crunch that Uber’s autonomous car program — currently being tested in Arizona, Pittsburgh and just recently again in San Francisco — has been suspended pending an investigation.
No one was injured in the Tempe crash, and the accident was not the fault of the Uber car, Tempe police told Bloomberg News. Another car failed to yield the right of way, and the Uber car flipped onto its side.
“There was a person behind the wheel” of the Uber car, police spokesman Jose Montenegro told Bloomberg. “It is uncertain at this time if they were controlling the vehicle at the time of the collision.”
All autonomous cars are currently required to have humans behind the wheel to take control of the vehicle if necessary.
There were no passengers in the back seat, according to Uber.
Uber began testing its cars in Arizona after its self-driving program was shut down in California late last year when the company failed to obtain the proper permits to operate that Google’s Alphabet and other self-driving car testers in the state have done. California cracked down after Uber autonomous cars were seen breezing through red lights. The company then agreed to comply with the states rules and began again testing its cars in San Francisco earlier this month.
The Tempe crash is more bad news for the company, which has been hit by a litany of accusations, including complaints of sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace.
Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that Uber used the software tool Greyball to dodge taxi enforcement officials. Alphabet’s autonomous-car company Waymo sued Uber earlier this year for allegedly stealing designs for its sensor technology.
Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick was recently captured on an Uber dash cam berating a new driver, prompting Kalanick to admit in a statement: “I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up.”
Uber President Jeff Jones resigned last week after just six months on the job
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