After months of rigorous testing, Uber recently celebrated the successful launch of its autonomous ride-hailing service in Pittsburgh. But it seems that the autonomous driverless cabs are already running into serious trouble, just a few weeks into their public test.
We all know that humans(yes, we) are the one who pose the greatest threat to any autonomous technology. Recently, a Google self-driving car got into a terrible accident in Mountain View, where a side of the vehicle was completely smushed. This accident was the fault of a van driver who while speeding ran a red light at the intersection.
On the basis of multiple reports gathered by Quartz, Uber is now also facing some minor( or other major) challenges while conducting the public trial of its autonomous vehicles. The company is already aware of one of the incidents, where another car bumped into the fender of one of its autonomous vehicles. But this incident only elevates the issue of human error, while subduing that the fact that the self-driving cars aren’t themselves completely trained. And now we have the prime example of the same.
Recently, one of Uber’s autonomous Ford Fusions didn’t read the street signs and took a wrong turn onto a one-way road. The mistake was immediately realised by the human driver/engineer accompanying the vehicle and made an immediate U-turn to avoid any mishaps. It would have been a terrible day for the Uber rider if there had been some oncoming traffic on that road.
This incident was captured by Nathan Stachelek on video, who then uploaded the same onto Facebook.
Recently, other passerbys have also noticed the aftermath of what may have been an accident involving a self-driving car. Quartz reported that they saw two vehicles, one of them being the sensor-mounted autonomous Uber car, pulled over at the intersection, with the engineer inspecting the vehicle for any damages. This suggests that Uber’s self-driving software isn’t perfect at the moment, but these minor incidents(if not written off) will help them work upon their mistakes and make neccessary upgrades.
Uber has, however, already stressed the importance of precautionary measures it has in place for its autonomous cars. The vehicles are only allowed to drive during a certain period of time, on a certain terrain, and that too accompanied with a human engineer who studies the ride data and can take control of the vehicle if needed.
Self-driving is the burgeoning tech innovation of the modern era. And like every other innovation, there could be a few quirks in the technology and it couldn’t be completely perfect. If Uber shares data and works with the Pittsburgh governement, it could avoid any future accidents related to its autonomous vehicles.