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Uber suspends self-driving car program after Arizona crash

ABC News, 27 March 2017
Uber has suspended its pilot program for driverless cars after a vehicle equipped with the self-drive technology crashed on an Arizona roadway. The accident, the latest involving a self-driving vehicle operated by one of several companies experimenting with autonomous vehicles, caused no serious injuries, Uber said.

Even so, Uber is grounding its driverless cars involved in a pilot program in Arizona, Pittsburgh and San Francisco pending the outcome of investigation into the crash on Friday in Tempe, Arizona.

The accident occurred when the driver of a second vehicle “failed to yield” to the Uber vehicle while making a turn, said Josie Montenegro, a spokeswoman for the Tempe Police Department.

“We are continuing to look into this incident,” an Uber spokesperson said in an email.

“The vehicles collided, causing the autonomous vehicle to roll onto its side. There were no serious injuries.”

Two safety drivers were in the front seats of the Uber car, which was in self-driving mode at the time of the crash, a standard requirement for its self-driving vehicles. The back seat was empty.

Photos and a video posted on Twitter by Fresco News, showed a Volvo SUV flipped on its side after an apparent collision involving two other, slightly damaged cars. Uber confirmed the images were from the Tempe crash scene.

When Uber launched the pilot program in Pittsburgh last year, it said driverless cars “require human intervention in many conditions, including bad weather”.

Uber also said the new technology had the potential to reduce the number of traffic accidents in the country.

The accident is not the first time a self-driving car has been involved in a collision.

A driver of a Tesla car operating in autopilot mode was killed in a collision with a truck in Williston, Florida in 2016.

A self-driving vehicle operated by Google was involved in a crash last year in Mountain View, California, striking a bus while attempting to navigate around an obstacle.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-27/uber-suspends-self-driving-car-program-after-arizona-crash/8389124

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