Uber seeks to resume AV trials nearly eight months after Arizona fatality

Uber wants to resume testing its self-driving cars on public roads nearly eight months after one of its autonomous vehicles (AV) killed a pedestrian in Arizona. First published on www.ITSInternational.com

The ride-hailing company has released a voluntary safety report to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which includes safety enhancements to help prevent crashes and fatalities.

Uber says its AVs would include two mission specialists – employees who have completed advanced training courses in self-driving vehicle operations. The training includes modules on distracted driving and a preventive fatigue monitoring programme.

In July, the company’s mission specialists began manually driving Uber’s AVs on public roads in Pittsburgh to trial new safeguards which are expected to improve vehicle safety and performance. 

One mission specialist remained behind the wheel to maintain the vehicle’s safety while the other documented notable events in the passenger seat.

According to Uber, all self-driving vehicles are now equipped with a third-party driver monitoring system and feature improved system latency to detect objects and actors sooner and react faster.

In the introduction of the report, Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO says the company has conducted a review of Uber Advanced Technologies Group’s safety approaches, system development and culture.

“We continue to support the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into the Tempe crash. We have taken a measured, phased approach to returning to on-road testing, starting first with manual driving in Pittsburgh,” Khosrowshahi adds.

Khosrowshahi emphasises that Uber has committed to deliver the safety report before returning to on-road testing in self-driving mode and will only go back on the road once the improved process has been implemented.

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