In 2018, an autonomous Uber vehicle was involved in a fatal crash in Arizona. At the time, the company’s self-driving cars were being tested in Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto. After the incident, Uber scaled back its self-driving car operation because state officials in California forced the program to shut down until safety standards could be developed.
In 2019, prosecutors ruled Uber was not criminally liable for the fatal crash. Since then, the self-driving program has undergone an overhaul. While operations resumed in Pittsburgh in 2018, autonomous cars are just now being brought back to the West Coast. Plans to conduct autonomous vehicle tests in San Francisco are in motion, as Uber was issued a permit to test the cars in California.
According to BBC News, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) granted Uber approval to test self-driving cars on state roads. As a condition of the permit, Uber has to employ trained drivers to take control of the test vehicles in the event intervention is needed to avoid a collision or other hazard. In total, California’s DMV has issued approval for 60 companies to test self-driving cars.
The DMV released an official statement regarding overseeing testing to maintain safety saying, “Uber fulfilled all the requirements to receive a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California with a safety driver behind the wheel. The company also presented additional documentation detailing changes made to their autonomous vehicle safety program and testing protocols, which the DMV took into account when evaluating the permit application.”
Uber has not released official information on when autonomous testing will resume, but they intend to conduct testing in San Francisco because of the city’s complex and constantly changing environment. Later this year, the company also plans to begin autonomous testing in Washington D.C.
Even if additional precautions are taken to avoid autonomous car accidents, there’s always the chance a self-driving Uber could cause a crash. Because the technology is still so new, there are bound to be unpredictable issues. When someone is injured as a result of an oversight, legal action is an option to seek compensation for losses.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a wreck involving an Uber, self-driving or otherwise, the attorneys from the Rideshare Law Group are here to help you file a claim and seek recovery. Contact us to learn more about the litigation process.