Three months after a self-driving Uber car killed a 49-year-old woman during its testing operations in Arizona, the ride-hailing company has halted all its autonomous driving operations in Pittsburgh and San Francisco. Tests in Arizona were earlier halted immediately after the fatal crash.
Quartz reports that Uber terminated about 100 self-driving vehicle operators and had even removed the position of an autonomous vehicle operator. Instead, the company is replacing them with technical specialists referred to as mission specialist, who are trained both for on-road and test track conditions. Uber has created 50 positions available in this role.
The fatal crash in March came as a heavy blow to Uber as Arizona was the company’s largest testing ground. Following the incident, it has even axed 300 test drivers. The accident raised an array of doubts about Uber’s approach to road safety. Despite all these roadblocks, Uber is not slashing its autonomous vehicle plans. The company is hoping to resume autonomous vehicle testing in Pittsburgh in the coming months.
Uber is currently reorganizing its self-driving vehicle strategy, with a greater emphasis on safety. That’s why, despite being engaged in a bitter legal fight with its rival Waymo, Uber is keen on incorporating Waymo’s technology into its platform. Waymo apparently has the technology that Uber desperately needs.