(Author : Alia Beard Rau , The Republic | azcentral.com)
Uber has halted its self-driving car program following a crash involving one of the vehicles in Tempe on Friday.
The test program had been operating in Arizona since late December.
According to Tempe police, another vehicle failed to yield at a traffic signal while making a left turn onto Don Carlos Avenue from McClintock Drive. The vehicle collided with the Uber SUV and then a third vehicle was hit. The Uber SUV ended up on its side. No serious injuries were reported, according to police.
The Uber vehicle was in self-driving mode.
According to Uber officials, there were no backseat passengers in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Officials said the company is investigating the crash.
The self-driving Uber program arrived in Arizona with much fanfare. Gov. Doug Ducey in December welcomed the test program to the state.
“We lose tens of thousands of Americans every year in avoidable accidents caused by human error,” Ducey said. “It’s Uber’s vision that we will avoid these accidents.”
Arizona got the program after California revoked the registrations of some of the vehicles after its department of motor vehicles determined they were not properly marked as test vehicles.
Arizona does not require special permits or licensing to operate self-driving vehicles. All self-driving cars must be permitted and licensed through the state and monitored by a task force made up of representatives of the Arizona Department of Transportation, Arizona Department of Safety and Uber.
Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato on Saturday said they were still waiting on additional details on the crash and the program halt.
“We are glad that there appears to have been no serious injuries,” Scarpinato said. “Public safety remains our top priority.”
Uber, on its website, stressed the use of the vehicles was in its early stages.
“While Uber is still in the early days of our self-driving efforts, every day of testing leads to improvements,” the website says, referring to the self-driving car program.
“Self-driving cars have the potential to save millions of lives and improve quality of life for people around the world,” it said.