Uber has suspended tests of its self-driving cars after one of them flipped over following a collision in Tempe, Arizona. No one was hurt and police said the other driver was at fault, but Uber said it would suspend its tests while it investigates the incident.
Police said there was a person in the driver's seat, but it was unclear whether that person was actually driving the Volvo XC90 SUV when another car plowed into its side at an intersection, causing the Volvo to overturn. A third car was also struck during the incident.
Uber began testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh last year and then expanded its test to Arizona after the California DMV ordered its cars off the street following an incident in which a Google car rolled through a red light in San Francisco. Arizona does not require any special permits for self-driving cars.
Uber began picking up passengers with its self-driving cars in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe last month, with Gov. Doug Ducey taking the inaugural ride.
“We lose tens of thousands of Americans every year in avoidable accidents caused by human error,” Ducey said after taking the ride last December, the Arizona Republic reported. “It’s Uber’s vision that we will avoid these accidents.”
So far, most of the known accidents involving self-driving cars in the U.S. have been relatively minor. Google's cars puttered around Northern California for years with only slight damages in occasional fender benders. There have been fatal accidents involving Teslas in self-driving mode, however.
The Tempe accident was more serious than those experienced by the Google cars, as evidenced by the Volvo's winding up on its side.
Uber has had other problems lately involving alleged misconduct in the executive suite.