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Uber Suspends Self-Driving Car Tests After Crash in Arizona

Uber logo on a wall

According to some reports, the ride hailing company Uber has suspended all the self-driving car tests in the United States. This comes after one of the company’s vehicles was involved in a crash in Tempe, Arizona. This is the latest problem to hit Uber after numerous sexual harassment allegations, sexism at the workplace and its CEO, Travis Kalanick’s outburst of anger. Moreover, the company has recently lost a lot of its executives, leaving people to wonder what is going to happen next?

The crash

Some photos posted on Twitter reveal what was left of Uber’s self-driving car after the collision in Arizona. The photos are showing the Uber vehicle on its side, while the other car is behind it, visibly hit, full of scratches and with its windows broken. According to a report, Uber’s car is an autonomous SUV, one of the models which the company was testing. However, their Volvo SUV was not at fault for what happened. The police are saying that the other car actually hit Uber’s. After the photos started showing up on the Internet, a spokeswoman from Uber confirmed that there was indeed a crash involving one of their vehicles. Moreover, that the company is momentarily suspending their self-driving car tests, at least while the investigation regarding the incident is ongoing.

It is interesting to note that, according to the police, at the moment of the crash, there was a person behind the Volvo’s wheel. However, nobody knows at the moment whether or not they were manually controlling the car or if it was driving on its own. Last year, Uber began their self-driving tests in Pittsburg and extended them to Arizona too. The aim of their program was to determine how could a potential fleet of self-driving cars handle every day traffic. Also, to test their limits and capacity. Uber is planning to integrate those self-driving cars into their main ride hailing service. The California Department of Motor Vehicles actually banned their tests in San Francisco.

Uber’s many problems

However, it seems like Uber cannot get away from trouble lately. Recently, Waymo, Google’s self-driving division which is also currently testing autonomous vehicles, accused Otto (Uber’s unit) of theft. They are saying that Otto stole the basic designs and blueprints of their self-driving technology. It all happened through an employee who switched jobs. And, if we are to take into account statistics, Waymo is better at avoiding major incidents involving self-driving cars.

Those problems come after a series of other issues. At first, people accused Uber of exploiting Donald Trump’s initial travel ban. According to reports, the company stopped its surge pricing feature near the spots where taxi drivers were protesting against the controversial executive order. This whole situation made people create an Internet campaign called “#DeleteUber” and the company lost a lot of customers. Moreover, a report revealed that Uber used the so-called “Greyball” tool in order to discover and avoid enforcement in certain cities. The video showing Travis Kalanick in a heated argument with a driver was the latest such controversy. Now, it seems like their self-driving cars are the next in line for trouble.

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