Uber’s self-driving vehicles were not keeping up to the expectations. Back-up drivers had to intervene more often than expected.
According to company documents, obtained by the New York Times, Uber had difficulty in reaching its target of one intervention each 21 kilometers. For comparison: cars from Waymo, Google’s self-driving branch, could drive 9000 kilometers without interventions by back-up drivers last year.
Uber’s self-driving project is allegedly under time presure – its test drivers were being asked to do more, such as going on solo runs – while they had worked in pair shifts before.
In last week’s fatal accident in the state of Arizona, a woman was struck by a vehicle in autonomous mode using Uber’s technology. The woman crossed the street, but she remained unnoticed by the vehicle’s detection systems and the backup driver, who was not paying attention. Uber has temporarily halted its testing with its vehicles.
UPDATE 27-03: State of Arizona Governor Doug Ducy has suspended further testing of autonomous vehicles on Arizona’s public roadways. He announces this in a letter written to Uber, stating that public safety is a top priority.