The bad news just can’t stop coming for Uber. One of their self-driving cars has crashed in Arizona on Saturday, prompting Uber Technologies Inc to suspend the cars for the time being. This accident is the latest in a long line of incidents involving a self-driving vehicle. Uber has said that there were no serious injuries but that they were grounding all driverless cars in Arizona, Pittsburgh and San Fransisco pending the outcome of the investigation into the incident in Arizona.
The accident apparently occurred when the driver of the second vehicle “failed to yield” to Uber’s vehicle while it was making a turn, according to the Tempe police department, this led to the autonomous vehicle rolling onto its side, thankfully there were no serious injuries. There were two “safety” drivers in the front of the seat of the vehicles and it is uncertain whether they were in control of the vehicle at the time of the crash. A safety driver is able to take control of the vehicle if conditions demand it.
This collision is just the latest event in a series of bad press for the embattled ride-share company. It follows on from the resignation of Uber’s president, Jeff Jones, less than seven months after joining and a number of allegations that Uber is not treating its employees in a fair manner. In February of this year, they were also sued by Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving car unit for theft of its proprietary sensor technology.
This is not the first time that self-driving cars have had road-incidents. In 2016 a driver of a Tesla Motors Inc Model S car was killed in a collision with a truck and there have been a series of small accidents during the testing phases of Google’s cars. Despite these accidents, tech companies still insist that driverless cars will help to drastically reduce the number of accidents on our roads and there is some evidence to back this up. Like any new technology, there is a lot of scrutiny on self-driving vehicles and incidents like these will always catch a lot of attention. There are certainly still kinks left to work out, especially helping automated cars handle unpredictable human drivers.