After suspending its complete self-driving test vehicle fleet on Sunday, Uber has now announced that it will be making a return to the streets of San Francisco (California) today. It is planning to return back only with a small fleet of test vehicles at the moment, reports TechCruch.
This development comes on the heels of one of the company’s self-driving vehicles being involved in a horrible accident in the state of Arizona a couple days ago. The self-driving Volvo XC90 SUV was found to be toppled in the middle of the road after this collision. And this led Uber to first suspend operations in Arizona, followed by the grounding of its entire self-driving fleet across Pittsburgh and San Francisco.
The police authorities have completed the investigation and declared that Uber’s self-driving test vehicle wasn’t to blame for the crash. Instead, they reported that the intensive collision was caused due to a human-driven normal vehicle which failed to yield and crashed directly into Uber’s autonomous Volvo. The same left the self-driving car toppled on its side, but no serious injuries were reported. It was operating in self-drive mode and only had one Uber engineer in the driver’s seat. But, reports suggesting otherwise, i.e the driver was in control of the vehicle, have also made their way to the interwebs.
We are resuming our development operations in San Francisco this morning.
Thus, an Uber spokesperson has confirmed the autonomous vehicles’ return to San Francisco. The company, however, seems to be currently holding off its plans to restart operations in the remaining two states. It had decided to suspend operation in every location until the outcome of the investigation of the accident, so we might have to wait a couple days for self-driving test vehicles to get back out on public roads in these two states.
But, this unfortunate accident is not exactly the company’s biggest concern at this very moment as it is faced with numerous ongoing controversies. On one hand, a former female employee has raised questions about Uber’s workplace by narrating incidents of sexual harassment whereas it is facing a patent infringement lawsuit from Alphabet’s self-driving division Waymo on the other. This is also coupled with the deterioration of its brand image among the consumers (the #DeleteUber campaign) and the employees (multiple exits ranging from President Jeff Jones to researchers at Uber ATC).