05.19.17 - Tempe, Arizona

For the past few years Uber has been both an admired and vilified company; mostly by its own design. The heads of Uber have made no qualms about the fact they don’t mind skirting a few rules and regulations in order to gain an advantage and more than once the company has had to shut down operations in a city it had begun to operate in. Recently, an event occurred that has given Uber one if its biggest hits to date and it may take some time for the company to recover from this particular incident.

Recently a three car crash took place in Tempe, Arizona. This crash involved an Uber SUV and two other vehicles. The Uber SUV was knocked onto its side and the crash site shows some badly banged up vehicles that were in need of serious repair. Thankfully there was not a fare paying passenger on board in the Uber at the time of the crash, there were two safety operators from Uber that were positioned in the front seat. No one was injured in the crash and as of right now, Uber is claiming their vehicle was not responsible for the accident.

Although they claim this crash was not the result of their fault, the company has chosen to suspend testing in both Arizona and Pittsburgh until a full investigation can be completed. This is a major setback for the company that has been the subject of multiple scandals over the years. The stoppage of testing makes sense when a self-driving vehicle is involved in an accident, even if the company claims the fault was not theirs. This may be an example of Uber acting responsibly for once in order to make sure the fault wasn’t actually theirs before putting vehicles back on the road.

This responsible action may hurt Uber in the short run, but it should act as a positive for the long run. This is certainly much better than when the first self-driving Uber test vehicle was set loose on the roads in San Francisco without a permit and began running several red lights in one run. At the time Uber tried to claim this was due to human error, but eventually had to realize it was a failure of the technology aboard to actually recognize the lights and know the car needed to slow down or stop.

As more information becomes available regarding the investigation into the crash in Tempe, AZ we’ll learn more about where the fault lies. If the fault is not with Uber you can expect them to continue their self-driving tests shortly after the results are made public, but for now, this testing will not take place. Once we know more we’ll report what has been found regarding this crash and where the fault resides; thankfully, Uber has taken the appropriate action in this case and will be respected and admired more for handling the situation the right way going forward.