March 27, 2017
Uber has suspended autonomous car tests in the US following an incident in which one of its self-driving cars was involved in a collision in Tempe, Arizona.
The ride-hailing service’s tests in both Arizona and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have been stopped following the high-impact crash, in which photos on Twitter reveal an Uber car on its side while another vehicle is behind, laden with dents, scratches, and smashed windows.
As reported by Bloomberg, the vehicle involved in the collision is a self-driving SUV, one of a fleet being tested by Uber.
An Uber spokesperson confirmed the crash, saying that tests have been paused while the ride-hailing service completes an investigation into the situation.
“We are continuing to look into this incident and can confirm we had no backseat passengers in the vehicle,” the company said. In other words, there was a driver behind the wheel of Uber’s SUV when the incident occurred.
According to Tempe police, Uber was not at fault and the crash was due to another car failing to yield, which led to Uber’s Volvo ending up on its side.
Despite the collision being ruled out as Uber’s responsibility by law enforcement, the company will not conduct any more testing until its own internal investigation has concluded.
I’ve found that the best way to avoid an accident is to imagine the stupidest thing each driver around you could possibly do in each instant, and then to count on them actually doing it. (This method prevented me, barely, from being forced into a concrete highway divider just yesterday by a careless driver in a black Nissan Murano.) But can Uber or anyone else create an algorithm for cynical imagination?