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It was just a few days ago that an Uber autonomous SUV was involved in a crash that caused the company to halt all testing of its self-driving vehicles. Yet no more than a day later, Uber says that it will resume testing in Pittsburgh and Arizona starting on Monday.
In Tempe, Arizona, a car and an Uber self-driving SUV were in an accident due to the other vehicle failing to yield to the Uber car. No one was hurt during the accident, but the Uber SUV was flipped onto its side. The other car sustained a good deal of damage as well, including smashed windows and dents along the body.
Immediately following the incident, Uber announced that there would be a halt in testing at all three of its sites which include San Francisco, California, Pittsburgh, and Arizona. San Francisco was the first of its sites to resume testing and the other two followed suit quickly.
San Francisco has a rocky relationship with Uber and its self-driving tests. While the company is allowed to test the vehicles in the city, it isn’t allowed to pick up passengers. The only two cars, both Ford Fusions equipped with autonomous gear, that are used in the city are manually operated and used for mapping.
Uber made an attempt to start their self-driving tests in San Francisco back in December. However, the California DMV was not a big fan of the autonomous vehicles and the fact that they would be driving around human passengers. Yet when Uber failed to obtain an autonomous vehicle testing license, it made it all too easy for the DMV to revoke registrations for all 16 of Uber’s autonomous cars.
So the self-driving Volvo XC90 SUV was sent to Arizona for testing instead of staying in San Francisco where Uber had hoped to put it on the road.
Uber started testing self-driving cars in Arizona just one week before it took its autonomous journey to California. Yet Uber ran into a few speed bumps during the first few weeks of its Arizona testing when one of its cars was caught on a traffic camera running a red light. Uber later made a response to the incident saying that it was due to “human error”, yet it was later discovered that not only had the car been driving itself, but it never recognized the red light or a few others that it ran.
Uber has had to dodge quite a few obstacles on its way to the top of the list in producing a fully autonomous vehicle. Not only does it have to claw past large companies like Ford and General Motors, but it has to deal with competitors with which it’s had a rocky past. One big one is Waymo Alphabet Inc., who accused Uber of stealing their design for lidar, a key sensor that aids in the detection of objects.
Uber refutes these claims even as Waymo filed an injunction to stop all of Ubers self-driving tests as well as use of its autonomous technology. Uber seems to have no plans to let that incident, as well as the one in Arizona, stop it from continuing the testing of its vehicles.