Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Are Back, but Under Human Control
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Uber is bringing back its autonomous vehicles in Pittsburg, just four months after the ride-hailing service’s self-driving car killed a pedestrian in Arizona and caused the company to end its testing operations.
Following the suspension of the self-driving program, Uber also laid off about 100 self-driver operators in Pittsburg and San Francisco and replaced the positions with newly trained “mission specialists.”
The autonomous vehicles will be driven in manual mode by the mission specialists for the foreseeable future.
“We’re starting with cars in manual mode, with a Mission Specialist sitting behind the wheel and manually controlling the vehicle at all times,” Eric Meyhofer, Head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group, said in a blog post. “Mission Specialists undergo extensive training to operate self-driving vehicles on our test track and on public roads.”
Uber has been re-evaluating its self-driving safety measures after a reported software malfunction caused the fatal accident in Tempe, Arizona, in March. The company is still using the same Volvo XC90 car but is adding new safeguards on the vehicle.
The new features include a driver-monitoring system to help drivers stay attentive while driving. (The person monitoring the autonomous vehicle in the fatal crash was found to be streaming the show “The Voice” until just before the collision.) The system will audio alert the driver if it detects inactive behavior.
There will also be a collision avoidance system that activates emergency braking in situations such as a sudden change in traffic ahead of the vehicle — a feature that wasn’t previously in place. All of the cars will have a front tablet built in and designed by the NHTSA’s Human Factors Design Guidance For Driver-Vehicle Interfaces standards. Uber said it has modified certain features to reduce potential distractions while the vehicle is in motion.
“We see manual driving as an important first step in piloting these safeguards,” Meyhofer said.
Uber says manual driving creates different scenarios for self-driving cars to encounter on the road, and then allow it to recreate those scenarios virtually and on the test track. The company’s engineers are also testing whether the new safety measures can work with the autonomous features while in full self-driving mode.
H/T: Tech Crunch
Featured image JasonDoiy/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees