One of Uber’s self-driving vehicles was struck and flipped in Tempe, Arizona, which caused the company to pull vehicles from the streets of San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Tempe. In the crash, there were no passengers in the back seat and there were no serious injuries reported. Another vehicle failed to yield, proving that the Uber vehicle was not at fault. The suspension only lasted for a weekend, and the company announced that it would resume picking up riders after an investigation.
Uber has been quick to put passengers inside its fleet of self-driving vehicles, although it has not spent as much time developing the technology as other companies. Uber puts a safety engineer in each vehicle to take control when needed.
Last summer, the company announced it would begin using self-driving vehicles with passengers in Pittsburgh. The same month it acquired a self-driving technology company and partnered with a school for artificial intelligence technology. Uber attempted to use self-driving cars in California, but failed to get the proper permit, so it began testing in Arizona. It later got the permit from California, and now uses self-driving vehicles in San Francisco.
Uber’s entry into the self-driving car market has been quick, and many have criticized the company for not spending enough time developing the technology. Google has been developing the technology for self-driving cars since 2009 but did not allow a non-employee to take a solo trip in one until 2015.
Uber’s self-driving cars have been criticized for running red lights and cutting off bicyclists, but have never had a major crash until now. Many companies are currently exploring technology options for self-driving cars, and many people suspect that autonomous vehicles will become a popular option through ride-sharing services, which could present more competition for Uber.
Although the technology for self-driving cars is new, in most of the crashes that have occurred thus far, the self-driving vehicle was not at fault for the collision. Currently, it is unclear how self-driving cars will share the roads with human drivers, although hopefully ultimately self-driving cars will lead to safer roads and fewer accidents.
This crash also makes many question how states will regulate self-driving cars. In California, autonomous vehicles are required to have a $5 million insurance policy, and the companies operating the cars must report accidents to the state within 10 days. The companies must also release an annual tally to the state telling how many times the test driver had to take over. In addition, passengers are not allowed to ride in autonomous vehicles in California. In Arizona, as a contrast, passengers are allowed to ride in the vehicles, and the companies need to only carry minimum liability insurance policies. No information must be reported to the state.
It will be interesting to see in coming years how state regulation and liability for accidents play out in the self-driving car arena. If you have been injured in an automobile accident because of the negligence of another party, you have the legal right to compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that anyone injured in an automobile collision should seek the full compensation to which he or she is entitled. If you are in the San Francisco area, call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco automobile accident attorney, at 510-645-1000. We work with clients throughout the area, including Hayward, Fairfield, San Jose, Tracy, Oakland, Sacramento, Berkeley, and the surrounding areas. My team can help. You pay nothing until we obtain compensation for you. Call today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation.