Uber Using Self-Driving Cars After Crash
By Gillian L.
Uber’s self-driving fleet is back in use after a crash on March 24, 2017, in Tempe, Arizona.
Even after the crash in Tempe, Arizona that involved a self-driving Volvo XC90s, Uber is returning the self-driven vehicles to the road. A driver and an engineer were in the front seats of the Uber Volvo SUV at the time of the collision, which is a standard requirement for the self-driving cars. There were no passengers in the back seat and no serious injuries were reported. The accident was caused due to another vehicle failing to yield which indicated that the vehicle from Uber was not at fault, according to the police.
Compared to its competitors, Uber has been relatively swift in putting passengers into vehicles with “self-driving” capabilities. Even though Uber has been developing the self-driving technology for a shorter period than its competitors, the company reassured customers by stating “[Our] vehicles always contain a safety engineer to take control when necessary.” Experts in self-driving vehicles say that crashes involving such vehicles will occur, but as self-driving technology improves the safety of everyone on the road will as well.
“Driverless cars keep getting better the more they drive, whereas humans have a roughly constant safety record over the years,” said Hod Lipson, a professor of mechanical engineering and robotics engineer at Columbia University, who has estimated that there are about 23,000 traffic fatalities per week globally. “The idea that somehow a human driver makes the drive more secure is false comfort and potentially dangerously misleading,” he indicated.
Uber has three pilot programs containing vehicles that use the “self-driving” capability in Tempe, Arizona; San Francisco, California; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There are currently no reported collisions involving Uber self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where the company first launched its program in September 2016, Pittsburgh Police spokeswoman Sonya Toler confirmed.
Even though driverless cars are being introduced into society, they are causing major controversy. Many are concerned about their safety as well as the safety of their passengers while the “self-driving” feature is in use. Many also question of the reliability of the vehicles as well as how they will coexist and share the road with vehicles driven by humans. These concerns have yet to be soothed and will remain in the minds of many wondering what the future of driverless vehicles will look like.