Nearly eight months after one of its autonomous test vehicles hit and killed an Arizona pedestrian, Uber wants to resume testing on public roads. The company has filed an application with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to test in Pittsburgh, and it has issued a lengthy safety report pledging to put two human backup drivers in each vehicle and take a raft of other precautions to make the vehicles safe. Company officials acknowledge they have a long way to go to regain public trust after the March 18 crash in Tempe, Arizona, that killed Elaine Herzberg, 49, as she crossed a darkened road outside the lines of a crosswalk. Nearly eight months after one of its autonomous test vehicles hit and killed an Arizona pedestrian, Uber wants to resume testing on public roads. Police said Uber's backup driver in the autonomous Volvo SUV was streaming the television show'The Voice' on her phone and looking downward before crash.
Ride-hailing service Uber will start hauling passengers with self-driving cars on the streets of Pittsburgh in next several weeks. The company says the self-driving Volvo XC90 cars will have human backup drivers to begin with, but the announcement will surely ring alarm bells amongst the country's 327,000 Uber drivers and millions who drive for a living who could be out of a job. Uber's cars are outfitted with cameras, lasers and sensors to help them navigate the city's streets. Ride-hailing service Uber says it will start hauling passengers with self-driving Volvo CX90 cars on the streets of Pittsburgh in next several weeks. But the company said they will also have back-up drivers.
Uber is getting its autonomous vehicles back on the road for the first time since one of its driverless cars fatally wounded a pedestrian. The latest tests will see the autonomous vehicles operated in'manual mode' – with human drivers behind the wheel operating the vehicle at all times. Although the vehicles will not be navigating independently, the latest round of tests will allow Uber to gather data on a number of scenarios that can be later recreated in computer simulations. The'manual mode' tests will also allow Uber to develop more accurate mapping for the vehicles. Elaine Herzberg, 49, was killed in Arizona on March 18 when an Uber Volvo SUV failed to apply the brakes after it registered her stepping into the road to cross.
The autonomous Uber SUV that struck and killed an Arizona pedestrian in March spotted the woman about six seconds before hitting her, but did not stop because the system used to automatically apply brakes in potentially dangerous situations had been disabled, according to federal investigators. In a preliminary report on the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday that emergency braking is not enabled while Uber's cars are under computer control, "to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behavior." Instead, Uber relies on a human backup driver to intervene. The system, however, is not designed to alert the driver. In the crash, the driver began steering less than a second before impact but didn't brake until less than a second after impact, according to the preliminary report, which does not determine fault.
FILE - In this undated file photo provided by Uber, a Ford Fusion hybrid outfitted with radars, laser scanners and high-resolution cameras drives along the streets of Pittsburgh. The high-tech ride-hailing company said that an unspecified number of autonomous Ford Fusions with human backup drivers will pick up passengers just like normal Uber vehicles. FILE - In this undated file photo provided by Uber, a Ford Fusion hybrid outfitted with radars, laser scanners and high-resolution cameras drives along the streets of Pittsburgh. Uber and Volvo announced, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2016, a 300 million deal for Volvo to provide SUVs to Uber for autonomous vehicle research.