Uber has resumed testing its self-driving cars in San Francisco, after it had grounded its entire self-driving fleet in US on Saturday, following a disastrous accident involving one of its test cars in Arizona.
In the accident, Uber’s self-driving Volvo SUV flipped onto its side and damaged at least 2 other human driven vehicles nearby.
“We are resuming our development operations in San Francisco this morning,” an Uber Spokesperson told TechCrunch. Uber also confirmed that its fleet in Arizona & Pittsburgh will continue to remain grounded, but you can expect them to resume soon.
Although Uber’s test cars can drive autonomously, they also have a human passenger in the driver seat who can take over if necessary.
The vehicles being tested in San Francisco are in a different stage of development compared to the ones in Arizona & Pittsburgh. That’s why Uber has decided to resume testing in this city.
Early reports of the Arizona incident suggest that the accident occurred because one of the human drivers in other vehicles did not give way to Uber’s car which was in self-drive mode.
Although this takes the blame away from Uber’s technology, it provides an interesting use case. If a human was driving the car, he would have braked or swerved suddenly. It’s always possible to come across unruly drivers when you’re on the road. It’s essential that self-driving cars handle these edge cases.
Uber’s self-driving test program has been subject of many safety-related criticisms, with reports of their cars missing 6 red lights in San Francisco, last month. This happened even after California State regulators explicitly demanded that Uber cease operations. Uber argued that these rules simply didn’t apply to them.
Clearly, Uber’s culture problem is not only bringing down its existing businesses but also its future growth areas.