On Friday night, a self-driving Uber vehicle was involved in a collision with a human-driven car in Tempe, Arizona that caused the semi-autonomous vehicle to flip on its side.
Uber’s car was being driven in autonomous mode but there were no passengers in the vehicle at the time of the crash, according to an Uber spokesperson, just a safety driver. The company has since grounded all its self-driving vehicles in Arizona while it conducts an investigation into the accident.
“We are continuing to look into this incident and can confirm we had no backseat passengers in the vehicle,” the spokesperson said.
No one involved in the crash has been seriously hurt, according to Uber.
— ABC15 Arizona (@abc15) March 25, 2017
Local Tempe TV stations havereported, citing Tempe police, that it wasn’t the Uber car that was at fault. According to those reports, local authorities said the driver in the other car failed to yield to Uber’s semi-autonomous Volvo.
Recode has reached out to Tempe police and will update when we hear back.
It’s too early to determine whether this was a system failure on the part of the robot car. The police reports indicate that it may not be. But, as we first reported, the company’s self-driving arm has seen little progress in the overall reliability of its autonomous systems. As of the beginning of March, safety drivers had to take back control an average of once per .8 miles.
Incidents like this do have the potential to set the self-driving industry back as consumers grow increasingly wary of trusting robot-driven vehicles.