US-based global ride-sharing colossus Uber Technologies Inc. has suffered yet another setback following their decision to suspend its pilot program for driverless vehicles. Management at Uber decided to ground the innovative self-driving program following a car crash in Arizona - the vehicle involved in the collision was equipped with nascent technology and belonged to Uber police in the US have confirmed.
It's just the latest accident involving self-driving vehicles which are currently being experimented with by several organizations. Nobody was injured in the collision in Arizona, but Uber have suspended all self-driving pilots including those in Pittsburgh and San Francisco.
A spokeswoman for Tempe Police Department said the accident occurred when the driver of the other vehicle involved failed to yield while making a turn. She said, “The vehicles collided, causing the autonomous vehicle to roll onto its side," she said in an email. There were no serious injuries."
Uber have disclosed that they were two 'safety drivers' in the front of their vehicle - and that the presence of two safety drivers is a standard requirement for the self-driving programs in all states. In addition to this, it also confirmed that the back seat was empty.
When the San Francisco based ride-hailing company launched its self-driving programs last year, it maintained that the vehicles still required human intervention in many conditions - particularly bad weather. However, it remained adamant that the new technology had the potential to reduce the number of traffic accidents in the US.
However, this accident has only served to once again raise questions over the safety of this driverless technology. There are many who remain skeptical in relation to self-driving vehicles following the high-profile crash involving Tesla. A driver of a Tesla Motor Inc. Model S which was operating in autopilot mode was involved in a fatal collision with a truck in Florida 2016. Alphabet's Google was also involved in an accident which involved a self-driving car. The vehicle struck a bus while attempting to navigate its way around an obstruction. However, nobody was seriously injured in that crash.
It's the latest in a series of setbacks for Uber - who are fighting a number of recent legal decisions in countries such as the UK and Canada. Former president Jeff Jones recently quit the company just seven months after joining the tech firm. A number of other key executives have also recently departed the organization.