Everything was wrong with Uber's driverless car project before last Sunday's fatal accident in Arizona, which provoked widespread criticism of the automotive giant's focus on autonomous vehicle development and forced the company to halt much of its operations. around technology. The goal of offering driverless transportation services to the general public before the end of the year was falling apart quickly, and Uber's driverless cars had a record of failure to operate properly under a number of standard road conditions, according to the company. internal notes obtained by The New York Times.
This included problems involving operators of the Volvo XC90 fleet, such as the one that killed Elaine Herzberg, 49, in Tempe, Arizona, on Sunday, to intervene more often than the engineers expected, something that threatened seriously delay the implementation of the company. automatic driving technology. Further scrutiny of the problem arises from the video posted on Wednesday by the Tempe Police Department showing the Uber operator looking down at the moments before the vehicle hit Herzberg, and if a second operator in the vehicle could have prevented the incident. According to The New York Times report:
When Uber moved to a single operator, some employees expressed safety concerns to the managers, according to the two people familiar with Uber's operations. They were worried that going alone would make it more difficult to stay alert during hours of monotonous driving. Kallman said he delayed the start of his one-driver initiative to allow more training and ensure drivers are comfortable with the new role.
The Times discovered new problems, including operators who get distracted or fall asleep at the wheel of self-taught test vehicles, as well as Uber's desire to develop its technology before its trial on trade secrets with rival Waymo earlier this year. . For now, however, there seem to be bigger problems surrounding Uber's self-driving initiative. And the fatality in Tempe is only the surface.