Are Uber’s Self-driving Cars Over After a Crash?


Shannon Henderson, Contributer

Last December, Uber started testing their self driving cars and recently one of those cars experienced an accident in Tempe, Arizona. It was reported that as the cars approached each other, the Uber car kept going and the human-driven car did not yield to the Uber car. The Uber-driven car was found to be following all requirements: a driver was seated behind the wheel of the car during the accident, the driver kept their eyes on the road, and was able to take back control at any moment. Although all requirements were in place, the driver in the Uber vehicle did not take back control and the crash happened in self-driving mode. All requirements were followed by the driver, yet after the incident, self-driving Uber cars were still pulled from the streets.

Following an investigation of the accident, Uber’s self-driving cars were allowed back on the streets as they were found not at fault. In the cities, Tempe, San Francisco and Pittsburgh, the self-driving cars returned to the streets after only three days. Uber argued that such an accident proves that technology-driven cars are safer than human-driven cars since humans are prone to error.

Despite the outcome of the accident, Uber faces other challenges regarding their self-driving cars. The company, Alphabet Inc, is suing Uber, accusing them of stealing designs for a self-driving car named Lidar by its company. Besides the lawsuit, Uber has been facing controversy since the start of its autonomous cars. The California Department of Motor Vehicles, for example, were not sure about allowing the self-driving cars on the roads in California. Eventually, Uber received its permit, though. All in all, Uber’s self-driving cars have run into problems, whether it be the accident in Arizona or the lawsuit by Alphabet Inc, they are moving forward and are currently on the roads in a few major cities.