Uber suspends self-driving cars following Arizona crash

BMW

Following an incident in Arizona, Uber suspended the company’s pilot program for driverless cars effective immediately, at least until the investigation behind the crash is complete. Currently, Uber has on-going pilot programs in several cities including Arizona, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

Whose fault was it?

The fault was not with the Uber car. Instead, another car had failed to yield to the autonomous car during a turn. At the time of the incident, two people were seated in the front of the Uber car – there were no passengers in the back. No injuries were reported from the site of the incident.

The incident emerges during a time of trouble for the company. Recently, Jeff Jones departed Uber following just seven months with the company – the latest in a number of high-profile departures. The company is also facing a lawsuit from Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving car unit for the alleged theft of proprietary sensor technology.

The incident raises some serious concerns.

What are some future problems that will emerge with autonomous ADAS system?

Currently, autonomous cars are designed to obey road signs and posts – this is the easy part. The harder part is accounting for the unknown, such as how to react to driver errors (as in this case) and other unexpected incidents.

There will be a number of problems from a legal standpoint. Let’s say the autonomous car is at fault, then whose fault is it? Do you sue the car manufacturer for allowing a faulty car onto the road? Do you sue the manufacturer of the autonomous equipment? And if yes, which one do you sue? Most ADAS systems are built through partnerships and collaborations.

Before self-driving cars hit the road, these factors must be taken into consideration.

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