Last month, Uber began a pilot program in Pittsburgh. And already witnesses have seen these cars run wild on the streets. One witness reported a driverless car going the wrong way down a one-way street. Another person saw a car being pulled over after having been in an accident. These are cars that take passengers to their destination without the help of a driver although a driver is always present in case of an emergency.
The Daily Mail reports that Uber’s driverless car pilot program has gotten off to a bumpy start with reports of multiple problems. Some have reported that self-driving Uber cars have been involved in car accidents and that some of these vehicles have even disobeyed traffic signs in the two weeks since the pilot has launched. One Uber driver reported seeing a self-driving car turn down a one-way street before its operator took control and turned the car back around.
Truly Driverless Cars
Even though a driver is present in the car, these vehicles are pretty much driverless. The vehicles are equipped with a variety of sensor, radars and high-resolution cameras. A trained driver will be in the driver’s seat, but only to monitor the vehicle’s performance. Otherwise, the car will be self-driving mode. Uber is currently testing a fleet of self-driving Ford Fusions in Pittsburgh for the first time. So far, Uber has confirmed only one incident in Pittsburgh, but has not mentioned any other reports or injuries.
Affordable – But is it Safe?
Uber has been pushing this pilot program by convincing safety officials that removing the cost of the driver would make the rides cheaper for the public. But the cars are already freaking out many consumers who balk at the idea of getting in a car without a driver. Last week, one of Google’s driverless cars was involved in one of the worst autonomous vehicle crashes yet. And Tesla is continuing to face scrutiny over its semi-autonomous vehicles. Several Tesla vehicles on Autopilot mode have been involved in serious crashes, two of them fatal.
As driverless car accident lawyers, we are all for new technologies that make the roads safer. But at the same time, we strongly believe that these technologies must be properly tested before they are put on our roadways. Uber is using consumers as laboratory rats in Pittsburgh. Things are going wrong and they are not even reporting them honestly to consumers. This is downright scary. Safety is much more important than a cheaper ride.