The Uber vehicle, which was in self-driving mode, was not at fault in the accident, according to the Tempe, Arizona, Police Department.
Uber said Saturday that it was suspending the testing of its self-driving vehicles, a day after one of the vehicles was involved in a collision in Tempe, Arizona.
The Uber vehicle, which was in self-driving mode, was not at fault in the accident, according to Josie Montenegro, a Tempe Police Department spokeswoman. Uber’s Volvo XC90 SUV was hit when another driver failed to yield, she said. The collision caused Uber’s vehicle to roll over onto its side.
Montenegro and Uber spokeswoman, Chelsea Kohler, confirmed the accident late Friday and said neither driver had serious injuries.
“We are continuing to look into this incident and can confirm we had no back-seat passengers in the vehicle,” Kohler said in a statement.
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Kohler said Saturday that Uber was suspending the testing of its self-driving vehicles in Arizona, pending the results of the investigation of the accident. She said Uber had also suspended testing in Pittsburgh and San Francisco for the day, and possibly longer.
The news of the accident was first reported by ABC-15, an Arizona affiliate station.
The incident comes at a difficult time for Uber, which for the past two months has fielded multiple crises involving the company’s workplace culture and business practices.
Earlier in March, The New York Times reported the existence of a tool called Greyball, which Uber engineers used to skirt authorities cracking down on Uber drivers worldwide. In addition, Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, was forced to apologize for his aggressive behavior after Bloomberg published video of an oral altercation he had with an Uber driver.
Although Uber was not at fault in the Arizona accident, the incident is problematic for the San Francisco-based company, which has battled regulators as it has tried to persuade cities to allow public testing of its autonomous vehicles. Google, General Motors and Ford Motor are all testing autonomous vehicles in California and have registered to do so.
After a successful introduction of the autonomous vehicle program in Pittsburgh last year, Uber ran into obstacles in December, when it tried to begin the testing of self-driving vehicles in San Francisco without registering for permits. The permits require companies to disclose the number of accidents involving their vehicles.
Shortly after the San Francisco testing began, one of Uber’s self-driving cars failed to recognize a stoplight and sailed through a crosswalk. The car was driving itself at the time, according to internal documents reviewed by The Times.
After the California Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the registrations for Uber’s self-driving cars, the company took its vehicles to Arizona, where the governor did not require the company to seek autonomous-testing permits.
Google, which has long tested self-driving vehicles in California, has also been in a number of accidents over the years. Typically, those accidents have been the fault of the other drivers.
Auto companies working on self-driving technology face the difficulty of building smarter vehicles that must not only adhere to the rules of the road but must also account for the error-prone nature of human drivers, a far more difficult variable.