Self-Driving Uber Involved in Crash in Arizona
Another headache for the beleaguered ride-hailing giant.
A self-driving Uber was involved in a collision Friday night, according to ABC News' Phoenix affiliate. The vehicle, which was carrying a passenger at the time, was reportedly hit by a Ford Edge that failed to yield, flipping the self-driving Volvo XC90 prototype onto its side. Luckily, there were no injuries. It's still unclear whether the car was being piloted by the human in the driver's seat or by its robo-chauffeur when the collision occurred, but based on reports that Uber's self driving cars need human intervention every mile, it wouldn't be surprising if the car was under human control at the time.
Local news source Fresco News posted the following tweet. The mechanically compassionate should turn away from the gruesome image of a perfectly-good XC90 in such a battered state.
Either way, this comes as another setback to the company's self-driving car program. The ride-hailing company was sent running from California with its proverbial tail between its legs after it failed to fill out proper paperwork, and landed in Tempe, Arizona, where this crash took place. The company is also being sued by Waymo — the company spun out of Google's self-driving car program—for allegedly using the company's intellectual property to build their own autonomous cars. There was also a very troubling acknowledgement that Uber's robot drivers were responsible for a car completely blowing through a red light.
If that wasn't enough, however, there seems to be a decent amount of corporate trouble at Uber's headquarters that makes this a decidedly inopportune time for any more setbacks. Within the past few months, the company has been accused of fostering a culture of sexual assault and CEO Travis Kalanick was filmed berating an Uber driver. The company also took fire for Kalanick's cooperation with President Donald Trump, leading to a public call for boycotts. Racing between fires that needed extinguishing across the business, Uber's PR department was forced to announce that the company was making changes to become "more compassionate."