The fatal crash would not have happened, had the ride-hailing Uber company not disabled in-build safety systems in the Volvo XC90
Back in March 2018, Uber was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons and the credibility of testing autonomous vehicles on public roads took a downer due to a fatal incident. Not every city in the United States allows for testing of self-driving cars and some only would in a restricted environment.
The fully automated cars are not just there yet and it would take years to perfect them before going on sale commercially. With Tesla’s Auto Pilot system being criticised despite the brand warning drivers to not let their hands off the wheel, it is easy to see that the technological development is still far off from reality.
Uber’s autonomous XC90 SUV, which was on testing duties, struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona five months ago and it caused an absolute chaos. It has now been reported that the fatal crash would not have happened, had the ride-hailing company not disabled in-build safety systems in the Volvo – as we all know the XC90 is one of the safest cars out there.
The IIHS (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety) has been critical over Uber turning the XC90’s collision avoidance technology off. Chief Research Officer of IIHS, David Zuby, has stated that the XC90 could have prevented or mitigated the crash altogether.
He further said, if developers of self-driving technology have intention to make roads safer, they should use the best crash avoidance system available, before going out to test publicly. The XC90’s sensors actually detected the pedestrian but Uber confirmed that the auto emergency braking system wasn’t enabled to reduce the erratic vehicle behavior.
The accident caused complete ban of Uber’s public road testing on self-driving vehicles in Arizona and it questioned the technology used, as well as the protocol of drivers who were behind the wheel during testing. However, Uber is speculated to bring back the public road tests in Pittsburg and San Francisco instead.