Uber Suspends Self-Driving Program Following A Crash In Arizona

Uber just can’t catch a break these days. Following sexual harassment claims from a former female employee, a dick CEO who insulted an Uber driver, and the exit of its president, comes this: one of its self-driving Volvo XC90 SUVs was involved in a three-car crash in Tempe, Arizona last Friday. Fortunately, this time around, the potential fallout may not be all that bad. According to The Fresco News and Reuters, the accident was not caused by the self-driving XC90, but rather another vehicle that failed to yield when the Uber SUV was making a left turn.

But still, photos taken at the scene show the SUV tipped over on its right side, so the impact must have been pretty strong. An Uber spokesperson stated the SUV’s autonomous mode was engaged at the time of the accident, and that Tempe police said it was not the cause of the crash. However, Uber has already announced that it’s grounding its fleet of self-driving XC90s in Arizona until the investigation is completed. “We are continuing to look into this incident and can confirm we had no back-seat passengers in the vehicle,” stated an Uber spokesperson. There were two safety drivers in the front seats of the Uber SUV, however, but no serious injuries were reported.

This isn’t the first crash involving a self-driving vehicle. A Tesla Model S driver operating in autopilot mode was killed in a collision last year, and Google’s Waymo self-driving division also experienced a crash in 2016 when one of its vehicles struck a bus. Clearly more work needs to be done to make self-driving cars 100 percent safe, but the technology, generally speaking, looks promising in the coming years.

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