INNOVATION

Uber Halts Self-Driving Car Fleet After Crash In Arizona

No one was injured when an SUV flipped on its side in Tempe.

26/03/2017 1:22 PM AEDT | Updated 27/03/2017 1:29 AM AEDT

Uber is suspending its entire self-driving car program while it investigates a crash involving one of its vehicles in Tempe, Arizona.

The ride-hailing company confirmed the crash after a photo was posted on Twitter showing an Uber SUV Volvo on its side next to another dented car with broken windows.

No one was injured, Tempe police told Bloomberg News. The Uber vehicle was not found to be fault, as another car failed to yield the right of way.

“There was a person behind the wheel” of the Uber car, police spokesman Jose Montenegro told the publication. “It is uncertain at this time if they were controlling the vehicle at the time of the collision.”

All autonomous cars are currently required to have humans behind the wheel to take control of the vehicle if necessary. There were no passengers in the back seat, according to Uber.

Uber began testing its cars in Arizona after its self-driving program was shut down in California late last year because the company had failed to obtain the proper permits. California cracked down after Uber autonomous cars were seen breezing through red lights. The company agreed to comply with the state’s rules and once again began testing its cars in San Francisco earlier this month.

The Tempe crash is more bad news for the company, which recently has been hit by a litany of accusations, including complaints of sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace.

Uber used the software tool Greyball to dodge taxi enforcement officials, The New York Times reported earlier this month. And Waymo, the autonomous-car company owned by Google parent company Alphabet, sued Uber earlier this year for allegedly stealing designs for sensor technology.

Dashcam footage also recently captured company co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick berating a new driver, prompting Kalanick to issue a statement saying, “I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up.” 

Uber President Jeff Jones resigned last week after just six months on the job.

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