Uber’s autonomous cars are once again logging driverless miles after gaining considerable attention from last Friday’s crash in Arizona. The company initially hit the go button on its San Francisco fleet Monday, which includes just two vehicles that carry only Uber staff. In an email to Motor1, an Uber spokesperson confirmed the company’s autonomous fleets in Tempe, Arizona and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania returned to active duty as well.
The crash quickly grabbed headlines across the country as readers assumed the driverless car was at fault. In actuality, it was the other vehicle – driven very much by a human – that failed to yield according to Tempe, Arizona Police. At the time of the crash, Uber’s autonomous Volvo was indeed driving itself though Uber safety drivers were in the vehicle. There were no injuries in the accident.
At this point it’s difficult to say how this high-profile incident will affect Uber. The company has had a terrific run of negative publicity as of late, not the least of which includes alleged corporate espionage, fines, and then there’s the issue of cars not being able to travel a single mile without human intervention.
Having been easily cleared of any sort of fault in this accident, Uber has a tremendous opportunity to spin this as a positive for both the company, and for self-driving technology. Automobile accidents happen every single day with humans behind the wheel. Would this accident have occurred had the other car been autonomous?
That’s the question Uber should be pressing to the motoring public right now. The company really needs a win and this crash could be a diamond in the rough to make that happen.
Source: Automotive News