“Safety Third” Was an Ongoing Joke Between Uber Self-Driving Car Engineers

A decent slogan for hooning cars, but not for a company that’s working to build trust between the public and its autonomous cars.

byAaron Brown|
Self-Driving Tech photo


Self-driving car engineers at Otto, the self-driving truck tech company bought out by Uber, joked by passing around "safety third" stickers, CNBC reports. That might seem funny at first, but if you're working for a company that's tip-toeing around trying to get the public to understand and approve of your seemingly-magical self-driving cars, you're probably going to want to make safety seem as high up on the priority list as possible.

According to CNBC, those stickers were spread around the engineers and were printed in OSHA orange—a nice touch, we might say. 

Yeah, remember when that self-driving Volvo XC90 Uber ran a red light in San Francisco before the company was kicked out of the state (then allowed back in) for illegal testing its autonomous cars? Because we sure do, and that itself was definitely not a great look for the company. This doesn't help its game either.

Currently, Uber is facing off with Google's (Alphabet's) recently-launched autonomous car company, Waymo, over the claim that Otto co-founder Anthony Levandowski took trades secrets with him when he left Google. Uber responded to that by saying the claim is "baseless," CNBC reports.

Listen, no matter what your company is up against, you do not want your engineers, the people who are supposed to have safety at the top of their minds, running around about it being barely a priority. 

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