Everything didn’t go well with Uber’s self-driving car project before the fatal crash this past Sunday in Arizona, which has motivated far-flung criticism of the ride-hailing giant’s advance to autonomous vehicle development and forced the company to bring to a pause most of its operations surrounding the technology. The objective of offering driverless ride-hailing services to the general public by the end of the year was falling apart rapidly and the company’s self-driving cars already had a reputation of operations failure under standard road conditions.
There were previous problems which involved operators of the fleet of Volvo XC90s – like the one that killed a 49-year-old in Tempe, Arizona on Sunday – to step in more often than engineers had expected, this certainly threatened to delay implementation of self-driving technology by the company. Further examination of the issue emanates from the video which was released on Wednesday by the Tempe Police Department that shows the Uber operator with his face downwards in the moments before the vehicle hit Herzberg, and whether a second operator in the vehicle may have forestalled the incident. According to the report from our sources:
When Uber moved to a single operator, some employees expressed safety concerns to managers, according to the two people familiar with Uber’s operations. They were worried that going solo would make it harder to remain alert during hours of monotonous driving. Mr. Kallman said it delayed the start of its single-driver initiative to allow for more training and to make sure drivers felt comfortable for the new role.
More problems were noticed by our sources and they include: operators being distracted or falling asleep behind the wheel of self-driving test cars and the desire of Uber to develop its technology before its trade secrets trial with Waymo early this year. In the meantime, there are a lot of problems surrounding the Uber self-driving initiative, the Tempe incident is just the surface.