Uber resumes self-driving tests after collision in Arizona

Article by Christian A., on March 30, 2017

Uber has resumed its self-driving tests after having had to temporarily put them on hold following a crash in Arizona on Friday. A Volvo XC90, the test vehicle involved in the accident was hit by another car at around 6:25 in the evening. According to Uber, the vehicle was set in self-driving mode while a driver was also on board. The other vehicle apparently is at fault for the incident as confirmed by the Tempe Police Department.

Luckily, none of the drivers were injured---considering the magnitude of the crash was substantial enough to turn the Uber car sideways. The test car also has no passengers in the backseat at the time of the incident. The photos are showing the SUV flipping over to its side while the other vehicle in the background sustained broken windows with several dents on the surface.

Although the transportation company was not to blame for this case, this is just among the many issues faced by Uber’s autonomous driving program. Uber’s test vehicles were disallowed on the public roads in California after it failed to secure a permit last December. It was not until it earned the support of Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey that the ride sharing service proceeded with its self-driving tests.

As of this writing, Uber has officially resumed its self-driving services in two cities. Uber started lifting the suspension since Monday morning beginning with San Francisco followed by Pittsburgh and Arizona in the afternoon. That being said, the transport service has not been using its self-driving cars in San Francisco to give passengers a ride. Instead, Uber only uses two Ford Fusions to map routes in this area wherein each vehicle has a designated driver. Since September, Uber has been giving a ride to passengers in Pittsburgh using Ford Fusion vehicles.

Interestingly, the company is looking to use its fleet of Volvo XC90 SUVs in San Francisco had it not been cancelled last year. The Department of Motor Vehicles has revoked the registrations involving 16 of its autonomous vehicles after one of its cars got involved in a major traffic violation. That is what prompted Uber to ship all of its SUVs to Arizona.

Nevertheless, the incident that happened over the weekend is considered to be the company’s first major road mishap. This has also opened up concerns about the overall safety on roads and vehicles. People couldn’t help but worry once these self-driving cars and manually driven vehicles share the same road in the future.

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