There's more than meets the eye to the Uber car crash that took place in Arizona.
A couple of weeks ago, a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona was struck by an Uber self-driving SUV in autonomous mode, resulting in a fatality on the streets.
Uber has since suspended all self-driving testing in multiple cities and Arizona's governor, Doug Ducey, even called for indefinite halt altogether. And now, amidst dual investigations into what exactly happened that fateful night, the New York Times has uncovered some not-so-good details behind the Uber car crash.
Too Much, Too Fast
According to the New York Times, Uber has been pushing its self-driving test drivers to go around alone instead of in pairs. Typically there's a driver on board as well as an engineer to help monitor data. Add to that the pressure to meet certain self-driving goals by the end of the year, to overtake the autonomous tech industry, and you get a recipe for disaster.
The Uber car crash in Arizona has put a spotlight on self-driving technology as a whole, and Uber's methods of running before it crawls specifically. In the NYT reporting, data shows that Uber has been well behind its goals and timeframe to meet expectations, including autonomous cars being able to drive through certain traffic zones.
Plus, its main competitor in the tech, Waymo, reported its cars could average about 5,600 miles before the driver took over. Uber? Only about 13 miles.
What Comes Next?
The jury is still out on whether it was exactly the self-driving car's fault that the woman died in the Uber car crash. Even still, two investigations and data that transparently shows the company is pushing the pedal too hard is resulting in lack of trust in the company and the tech itself.
A question now is will this setback for Uber be a siloed problem? Or will other companies like Lyft, Waymo, GM, and Ford suffer in their autonomous car testing and/or customer prospects because of it?
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