Uber in the spotlight… again
Uber- ride-sharing giant and possible harbinger of the robot apocalypse- has confirmed that it will be suspending its testing of self-driving cars in Arizona.
The stop comes after one of said vehicles was involved in a high-impact collision in Tempe on Friday.
A photo posted on Fresco News’ Twitter feed showed the Uber vehicle on its side next to a dented vehicle, its windows smashed.
According to Tempe police information officer Josie Montenegro, the accident occurred when the driver of the second vehicle “failed to yield” to the Uber vehicle while making a turn.
As such, the Uber vehicle was determined to not be at fault.
Still gathering details
Reportedly no one was injured.
However, exactly how the vehicle ended up on its side is as of yet unconfirmed.
Montenegro has confirmed that there was a person behind the wheel of the Uber vehicle, though there is still an investigation as to whether they were controlling the vehicle at the time of the collision.
I can hear it now- technophobes rejoicing, technophiles lamenting. But hark! There is more!
Not the first autonomous accident
Though tests for autonomous vehicles have largely been successful, this is not the first self-driving vehicle involved in a serious accident.
Last May, a Tesla Model S in Autopilot Mode was involved in a fatal accident with a tractor-trailer.
The driver of the vehicle, Joshua Brown, was killed. Though federal safety regulators determined that the collision was not due to a defect in Tesla’s computer system, it does bring up an interesting point regarding how feasibly safe it is for autonomous vehicles to share the road with human motorists.
Humans are the weak link
The majority of auto accidents have been reportedly due to human error- something that proponents of autonomous vehicles insist that technology will be helpful in preventing.
However, the counter-argument to this lies in the fact that there is human error.
Essentially, it will be left up to the vehicle’s computer brain to predict the unpredictable- and act accordingly. After all, it is safe to say that for the time being, most motorists will not be able to afford an autonomous vehicle.
This does not mean that it is impossible for the technology to reach the levels it need be at.
There are a number of companies aside from Uber who are working on self-driving technology.
Those other cars will likely be available on the market at some point in the fairly near future. However, after this accident, it does seem safe to say that there is still some major work to be done before we will be regularly sharing the road with robot drivers.
Uber becoming infamous
Technology issues aside, it seems that Uber just can’t stop taking hits. After widely reported executive shake-ups and scandals (including a lawsuit filed last month by Alphabet, Inc.-owned competitor Waymo regarding potential design theft), the company could surely use some good news.
Or at the very least would settle for some time without being in the news.