Published: Thu, March 30, 2017
Business | By Patricia Jimenez

Uber self-driving cars back on the road after crash

Driverless vehicles operated by Uber Technologies Inc were back on the road in San Francisco today after one of its self-driving cars crashed in Arizona, the ride-hailing company said. As a result of the incident, the firm had halted self-driving operations in the area.

Uber has paused its self-driving auto program while it investigates a crash involving one of its driverless vehicles in Arizona.

The driver of the other vehicle was not injured either, but the accident draws attention to the tightrope Uber has been walking. A Tempe, Ariz., police spokesperson confirmed the collision in an email to Reuters, explaining that a human-driven vehicle "failed to yield" to the SUV.

Uber told Bloomberg that no passengers were in the Volvo at the time, but they did not indicate whether the autonomous driving systems of the Volvo were engaged - two engineers were also in the Volvo.

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Uber said it is investigating the incident, adding that there were no passengers in the back seat of the self-driving vehicle. During that time, the San Francisco, California company had said that self-driving technology has the potential to reduce traffic accidents in the country.

After this ill-fated incident; Uber is suspending its self-driving pilot program in the Arizona region, for as long as the investigation is not over.

A spokesperson for the police in Tempe said the crash happened when another auto "failed to yield" to an Uber vehicle at a left turn. A third vehicle was also struck during the incident.

When Uber launched the pilot program in Pittsburgh past year, it said that driverless cars "require human intervention in many conditions, including bad weather". Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving auto division, accused the company earlier this year of stealing trade secrets to spring into autonomous vehicle research and development. Uber has reportedly mentioned that no fatal injuries are reported and that the vehicle did not carry any backseat passengers. All of Uber's self-driving fleet have a person behind the wheel at all times for safety reasons, so now it's a case of Uber reviewing what happened and finding what was at fault. All of these automated cars were taken off the streets while the company investigates the incident. Most of the accidents were minor and weren't caused by Waymo's vehicles. The Arizona Republic reported that the self-driving tests in Arizona and Pennsylvania will resume.

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