Uber self-driving cars back on the road after crash

Wire reports

Uber Technologies Inc.’s self-driving cars were back on public roads Monday, three days after a crash in Arizona put the company’s testing program on hold.

The ride-hailing company resumed testing in San Francisco Monday morning, and planned to restart the program in Tempe, Arizona, and Pittsburgh later in the day, according to an Uber spokeswoman.

One of Uber’s Volvo self-driving SUVs was involved in a high-impact crash on Friday in Tempe. The vehicle was not responsible for the incident and there were no injuries, Tempe police said. Another car failed to yield for the Uber car, causing the autonomous vehicle to flip on its side, according to the police report.

Uber paused testing after the incident over the weekend to better understand what happened. The company said it was confident in returning the vehicles to the road on Monday.

Multiple automakers and technology companies are testing fleets of self-driving vehicles. In nearly all cases, the cars have backup drivers who can take the wheel in an emergency. Uber said there were no passengers in the car at the time of the crash but there were two operators in the front.

Testing hasn’t been accident-free. Waymo — a division of Google — has been testing self-driving cars since 2009 and has driven them more than 2 million miles. Last year, Waymo reported 13 accidents involving its fleet in the state of California, which requires companies testing autonomous vehicles to report any accidents. Most of the accidents were minor and weren’t caused by Waymo’s vehicles. But in February 2016, a Waymo test car struck a public bus near the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. No one was injured.

Cruise Automation — a self-driving startup owned by General Motors Co. — and Nissan Motor Co. also reported fender benders involving self-driving cars in California within the last year.

Last year, a driver of a semi-autonomous Tesla — which is different from a self-driving car — was killed with the car’s Autopilot system engaged.