Uber self-driving car could be grounded by Google

Uber self-driving car could be grounded by Google

Uber’s self-driving pilot program may be halted in May due to a court order. According to a Reuters report, the Judge in the Waymo Uber court case warned the car-hailing company that should his director plead the 5th Amendment, and not testify for fear of incriminating himself; he might just grant the injunction sought by Google’s self-driving company, Waymo.

The case against Uber was brought before the San Francisco District Court in February. Waymo claims that its former employee, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded 14,000 files related the Google autonomous vehicle program before leaving to join Otto, an autonomous vehicle company acquired by Uber in 2016. Otto, using Level 4 autonomy equipped semi, successfully delivered a load of 50,000 beers on a 2-hour journey to Colorado Springs in October 2016.

Judge William Alsup warned Uber’s legal team in a closed hearing this week that unless Uber can prove they have not used any of Waymo’s technology associated with the files, that he would like to hear Mr. Anthony Levandowski version. The Judge went further, saying “I’m sorry that Mr. Levandowski has got his — got himself in a fix. That’s what happens, I guess, when you download 14,000 documents and take them, if he did. But I don’t hear anybody denying that.”

Uber has yet not responded to Waymo’s claims and is trying to push for arbitration, where Mr. Levandowski can testify in a closed hearing without fear of being criminally charged.

Uber last week temporarily grounded its autonomous vehicle pilot project after a collision caused by another vehicle. The company lifted the grounding on Tuesday. The hearing, set for May 3, could lead to a longer injunction of Uber’s self-driving program, wich would not add to alleviate the company’s tarnished public image. Should Uber be handed an injunction, it does not stop them from testing in other countries.

In other Uber electric vehicle-related news, the ride-haling company had to withdraw from Denmark after the introduction of a new law making it difficult for the company to operate its business model. And in the UK the company announced that it would expand it’s existing electric vehicle fleet from 20 Nissan Leaf and 30 BYD e6‘s to 150 cars in the City of London. The company will adapt its app and install fast chargers to assist the drivers of the EV’s.

 

uber self-driving pilot

 

Why did Uber suspend autonomous vehicle program?

Why did Uber suspend autonomous vehicle program?

Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] this weekend suspended its testing of self-driving car technology after a non-fatal crash in Tempe, Arizona. The crash, caused by another vehicle when the driver “failed to yield” to Uber’s Volvo while making a turn. Two engineers were passengers in the front cockpit of the driverless vehicle. Uber decided to suspend the testing of its self-driving program in Arizona and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The company already lost its license to test its autonomous vehicles in San Francisco in February, where the regulators came in possession of footage showing an Uber pilot vehicle running a red light, barely missing a pedestrian. In the incident, the company claimed that it was a driver error. The Californian DMV offered Uber assistance and a clear road to permitting the company and State could not agree on workable rules around Uber’s demand for its technology to be classified as SAE Level 3 automation.

Uber is Piloting retrofitted Volvo XC90 SUV’s and Ford Focus vehicles and recently announced a cooperation agreement with Daimler, where the German automaker will introduce and operate self-driving cars on the Uber network. Uber abandoned efforts to build its own vehicle early on, rather focusing on partnering and acquiring technologies to achieve its goal of a self-driving fleet for its network. Uber acquired autonomous trucking company Otto in 2016 and made a successful delivery of a consignment of beer before being blocked by the California DMV. Otto’s success is unfortunately mired in controversy as Google’s Waymo is suing the company for stealing its technology. 

One should think that there was no real need for a drastic move such as suspending the pilot program? Tesla did not suspend its autopilot software when a driver was killed in May 2016. Accidents by driver neglect are the kind of accidents that few drivers can escape and will continue happening while humans are in control of vehicles. The answer rather lies in Uber trying to clean up its act and restore its image. The company has been suffering from a stream of negative publicity lately, with its Chairman, Jeff Jones, a marketing expert hired to improve the company’s image resigned after only 7-months, confirming the rot at the company.

We hope that Uber get its act together and quickly resume its testing, after taking the necessary safety precautions, so humanity can benefit from safer transport in the near future.

Uber suspend autonomous vehicle program

A self-driven Volvo SUV owned and operated by Uber Technologies Inc. is flipped on its side after a collision in Tempe, Arizona, U.S. on March 24, 2017. Courtesy FRESCO NEWS/Mark Beach/Handout via REUTERS

 

 

Why did Uber suspend autonomous vehicle program?

Uber forced to stop self-driving pilot in San Francisco

This week Uber was forced to cancel its self-driving pilot in San Francisco, its hometown. Although regulators are in possession of footage showing an Uber pilot vehicle running a red light, barely missing a pedestrian, a claim the company contest that it was driver error and not the software, the ultimate decision was based on the company not following proper permitting procedures. The Californian DMV offered Uber assistance and a clear road to permitting the company and State could not agree on workable rules around Uber’s demand for its technology to be classified as SAE Level 3 automation. It is not the end of Uber’s efforts though as it is piloting retrofitted Volvo XC90 SUV’s and Ford Focus vehicles in Pittsburgh.

Pin It on Pinterest