Uber believes it will have its self-driving cars back on the roads in “a few months,” as the company awaits a preliminary report from the National Traffic Safety Board.
The ride-hailing company’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi spoke of the future plans at Uber’s Elevate conference in Los Angeles ealier this week, where the company said it is also performing a “top-to-bottom” safety review at its Advance Technologies Group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Uber halted self-driving car tests following a deadly crash in Tempe, Arizona that happened in March. One of the company’s self-driving Volvo XC90s struck a female pedestrian crossing outside of a crosswalk while she pushed a bicycle. The woman was taken to hospital and later died from her injuries. It marked the first time a self-driving car killed a human being.
Video from the incident seemed to ask more questions than provide answers. The human safety driver onboard was distracted at the time of the crash, and Volvo’s own City Safety system should have helped steer the vehicle away from the pedestrian, though it was later determined that these were turned off by Uber’s engineers. The self-driving car showed no signs of slowing down for the woman, or any evasive maneuvers.
Uber has said that the autonomous-driving software may have been calibrated in a way that the pedestrian was deemed a “false positive.” Essentially, the car might have decided no action was required to avoid the incident.
In other self-driving news, the state of Ohio this week made it legal to test self-driving cars on its roads. Republican Governor John Kasich signed an executive order allowing self-driving cars and outlined a handful of conditions. Every self-driving car in Ohio must feature a human safety driver and companies must register with DriveOhio, a hub for the state’s mobility projects.