Ride-sharing company Uber believes that the prospects for autonomous vehicles are still positive despite a high-profile fatality involving one of its self-driving vehicles in Arizona, United States last month, according to a Reuters report.
There was no confirmation if Uber will resume testing of its autonomous vehicles, or any indication of what the company thinks might have gone wrong, the report said. The company is still cooperating with US federal investigators and is dealing with the incident ‘very seriously’, said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
Despite having raised concerns about the lack of safety standards for autonomous vehicles, Khosrowshahi said Uber still has faith in the technology in the long-term. “We believe in it. Autonomous vehicles at maturity will be safer,” he said, adding that the company’s interest in bike sharing and public transit should not be interpreted as a move away from self-driving cars.
Uber also considered autonomous vehicles to be “part of the solution,” and in the long-term key to eliminating individual car ownership, the report said.
Arizona governor Doug Ducey last month called the crash “an unquestionable failure,” and a video of the incident “disturbing and alarming,” and suspended Uber’s ability to test autonomous vehicles in the state following the fatal incident. Uber has since reached a settlement with the family of the woman killed in the crash.
Uber had previously constructed a ‘fake city’ to serve as an environment in which to test its autonomous cars; pedestrians and cyclists posed among the greatest challenges for the self-driving machines. The 42-acre facility dubbed Almono includes obstacles such as roadways, complicated intersections, fake cars and unpredictable pedestrians.