Uber has been under a lot of pressure over the past few months from several different angles, including with their self-driving effort. They had problems with regulators in California after a self-driving prototype ran a red light and now they are being sued by Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving car company, over their lidar sensor technology.
Now one of their self-driving prototypes in Arizona was involved in an accident that resulted in the car rolling over. Fortunately, no one was injured.
The accident happened last night at the corner of McClintock Drive and Apache Boulevard in Tempe, Arizona.
The local ABC station reported on the accident:
“A car failed to yield to the autonomous SUV and hit it, authorities said. The self-driving SUV rolled onto its side as a result crash. No injuries were reported. However, police said there was a passenger in the self-driving car. The person was behind the wheel but it’s unclear whether they were controlling the SUV or not.”
Based on the police statement, it doesn’t sound like Uber’s vehicle was at fault, but the company is still reportedly investigating the accident.
Update: Uber now says that it suspended its entire test fleet pending the investigation into the crash
Here are pictures of the aftermath by Mark Beach via Fresco News:
Last December, the California DMV shut down Uber’s unlicensed self-driving car program in reaction to footage of a prototype running a red light in front of pedestrian. The company claimed that the vehicle was being driven by the engineer at the time it ran a red light, but other reports contradicted Uber’s statement.
After the incident, Uber shipped its fleet of prototypes to Arizona to continue testing their self-driving technology. The company has since obtained a new test permit in California and started testing in the state again, but they also still have a fleet in Arizona – hence the accident yesterday.
Uber’s goal is to eventually replace drivers of its ride-hailing service with a fleet of self-driving vehicles.