Self Driving Uber Crashes In Arizona, Company Halts Pilot Program

Sam McEachern
by Sam McEachern
self driving uber crashes in arizona company halts pilot program

Uber’s infamously embattled autonomous car division took another hit Saturday after one of its self-driving Volvo XC90 test cars was involved in an accident in Tempe, Arizona. The technology company has since halted the pilot program, parking its self driving fleets in Arizona, Pittsburgh and San Francisco until further notice.

The crash occurred when a Ford Edge failed to yield to the Uber test vehicle as it made a left hand turn onto a major arterial road. The vehicle was in self-driving mode at the time of the accident and two “safety” drivers were also present in the front seats. The Uber wasn’t blamed for the crash and no serious injuries were reported. A tweet from news agency Fresco News shows the XC90 test car rolled on its side with a heavily damaged Edge sitting in the background.

“We are continuing to look into this incident and can confirm we had no back-seat passengers in the vehicle,” an Uber spokesperson said in a prepared statement.

Uber’s self driving car pilot program received some poor press in December after test vehicles were spotted running red lights, breezing through pedestrian crosswalks and nearly hitting other cars in San Francisco. Those incidents prompted California state regulators to order Uber to stop all autonomous car testing until it could obtain a proper permit for operating self-driving cars.

News of the collision comes just days after Uber president Jeff Jones quit the company and became another in a growing list of talent that has jumped ship in recent months. In February, one of its top engineers, Anthony Levandowski, quit the company after news surfaced that he had stole Google self-driving car offshoot Waymo’s LIDAR circuit-board technology. This prompted Waymo to file a lawsuit against Uber and its self-driving trucking division, Otto.

[Source: CNBC/Reuters]

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4 of 29 comments
  • Sector 5 Sector 5 on Mar 26, 2017

    When the first vehicles appeared wasn't there a pedestrian in front with a red flag? Well that's what we're going through now - the red flag phase.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 27, 2017

    Q: If the Uber car wasn't blamed for the accident, and if AV companies are so eager to brag about their cars' future capabilities (Uber, Tesla, Volvo, Ford, etc), then *why* did Uber pull the vehicles? A: Here's why - because someday, the liability *will* fall upon the AV mfr of an SAE Level 4 or 5 vehicle, perhaps for the occupants inside the vehicle, not just outside it. If the company was truly confident, they'd put that XC90 on its wheels and send it back out into the fray. I bet those guys who were 'slightly' injured are second-guessing their contract not to sue (which I'm sure they have).

    • See 1 previous
    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 27, 2017

      @jmo Of course, what was I thinking. Let me rephrase: "I bet those guys who were ‘slightly’ injured are second-guessing their role as guinea pigs."

  • Inside Looking Out You should care. With GM will die America. All signs are there. How about the Arsenal of Democracy? Toyota?
  • DenverMike What else did anyone think, when GM was losing tens of billions a year, year after year?
  • Bill Wade GM says they're killing Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Any company that makes decisions like that is doomed to die.
  • Jeff S I don't believe gm will die but that it will continue to shrink in product and market share and it will probably be acquired by a foreign manufacturer. I doubt gm lacks funds as it did in 2008 and that they have more than enough cash at hand but gm will not expand as it did in the past and the emphasis is more on profitability and cutting costs to the bone. Making gm a more attractive takeover target and cut costs at the expense of more desirable and reliable products. At the time of Farago's article I was in favor of the Government bailout more to save jobs and suppliers but today I would not be in favor of the bailout. My opinions on gm have changed since 2008 and 2009 and now I really don't care if gm survives or not.
  • Kwik_Shift I was a GM fan boy until it ended in 2013 when I traded in my Avalanche to go over to Nissan.