Uber Autonomous Autos Cruising the California Highways

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After an overhaul of its safety features following a fatal accident in 2018, Uber is ready to reboot its self-driving car, and has chosen California for its road tests. Initially the state’s DMV declined Uber’s request to resume driving the robot car, but permission was granted last month, reports IndustryHerald24.com

An Uber press release noted, “Our testing area will be limited in scope to start, but we look forward to scaling up our efforts in the months ahead and learning from the difficult but informative road conditions that the Bay Area has to offer.” Though not widely publicized, self-driving cars are also being tested in Pittsburgh, Dallas, Toronto, and in Washington state. 

The cars meandering through California will be both Volvo XC-90’s with two front-seated human safety drivers. Uber has stressed that in addition to improved safety features for the vehicles, the human drivers have also undergone “dedicated time on defensive and distracted driving courses, as well as improved test track situational drills.”  

With the improved braking and safety measures, and additional human training hours, Uber hopes to avoid a repeat of the earlier test runs that resulted in the death of a pedestrian. It has been speculated that the human control in the 2018 accident may have put too much trust in the self-driving car, watching a video instead of the road.  

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