Can Uber rejoice its reputation following its self-driving fatality, or will the company fall short to competition?
Following months of speculation around the testing of self-driving cars by Uber, the company has been forced to suspend action after the fatality in Arizona.
The Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, has suspended the ride-hailing company from testing its self-driving technology in the city after a pedestrian was hit and later died in hospital.
Bringing Uber’s testing to a halt, the state of Arizona has crippled the company’s future plans and potentially knocked them out of the self-driving car race as other companies such as Waymo continue developing the technology.
After a roller-coaster year for Uber, testing the fleet of self-driving vehicles had been carried out in the hope of boosting the company’s business. Since the pedestrian incidents, the tests for Uber’s self-driving technology have been suspended in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto as well.
Uber had once been held on a pedestal in the state of Arizona, welcomed by Ducey with ‘open arms’ to test on its streets. However, now the Governor holds a different opinion of the company and its technology putting the safety of his residents at the forefront of his priorities.
“In the best interests of the people of my state, I have directed the Arizona Department of Transportation to suspend Uber’s ability to test and operate autonomous vehicles on Arizona’s public roadways,” Ducey said according to Reuters.
Investigations into the safety of the technology are currently being carried out by police and safety regulators, focusing on bringing in better safety standards for the vehicles in the future. The call for new safety standards arose after companies like Uber are only required to provide the minimum level of safety, which does not include tracking crashes or reporting any information to the state a requirement.
Rival company, Mobileye also called for more to be done to validate the safety of autonomous vehicles. The company did, however, revel in Uber’s woes after running the police footage of the incident through its own systems and claiming its own self-driving software would have detected the pedestrian.
The suspension of Uber’s testing could hinder its position in the self-driving market, as the likes of Waymo and Mobileye continue developing and testing their technology in the wake of the incident.