A self-driven Volvo SUV owned and operated by Uber after a collision in Tempe, Arizona, on March 24th. Photograph: Fresco News/Mark Beach/via Reuters
Uber has suspended its fleet of self-driving cars while it investigates a crash in Arizona involving one of its vehicles.
Photographs posted online show the car lying on its side next to another badly damaged vehicle. There were no serious injuries as a result of the incident.
The Uber Technologies car – a Volvo SUV – was carrying two engineers in the front and no backseat passengers, but it is not yet clear whether the car was in self-driving mode at the time of the crash.
The incident is the latest blow for the car-hailing app, which has been left reeling by a series of setbacks in recent weeks, including the departure of its president, Jeff Jones.
Initial police reports suggest the collision was caused by a person who failed to give way to the self-driving car rather than a malfunction by the Uber vehicle.
However, pending further investigation, the company has removed all its self-driving cars from the road in Arizona, as well as test sites in Pennsylvania and California – all three states where it operated the driverless vehicles.
‘Failed to yield’
A spokesperson for the police in Tempe, Arizona, said the crash happened when another car “failed to yield” to an Uber car at a left turn. Josie Montenegro said: “There was a person behind the wheel. It is uncertain at this time if they were controlling the vehicle at the time of the collision.”
Uber self-driving cars always have a human in the driving seat who can take over the controls.
The latest incident follows recent difficult months for the firm, which has seen a number of high-level executives quit and criticism over workplace practices and ethics.
Meanwhile legal issues have been hampering progress with the testing of its autonomous vehicle technology in California.
– (Guardian service)