Uber’s vaunted autonomous car program was welcomed with much fanfare and support in 2016. Their cars began rolling out to downtown Pittsburgh, so chosen because it’s hard for cars to adapt to and operate in it. Unfortunately, it seems Uber’s technology is stumped by San Francisco, which seems to offer road conditions and complications that confound the cars.
Numerous people have recorded video of Uber vehicles running red lights, failing to halt at stop signs, and other traffic violations. It appears that Uber acknowledges the technical hurdles and is moving to address the concerns.
Sadly, the technical errors also involve a potentially fatal issue. Most states require cars to merge into bike lanes before executing a right turn. The merger rule ensures that cars and bicycles share the road. Uber self-driven cars seem to favor the “right hook” turn which is exceedingly dangerous when executed in a bike lane. The right hook turn is a standard turn that ends up cutting off people in the bike lanes or even hitting one them. So far, no one has been killed or injured, but it is only a matter of time unless Uber corrects the mistake or pulls the vehicles.
Another issue that Uber cannot shake has to do with California regulators. The government requires all companies operating self-driven machines, to obtain permits from the DMV. Uber, thus far, refuses to comply, despite numerous warnings of retaliation.
If you were injured in a car accident with an autonomous vehicle, then you may want to speak with an attorney as soon as you can. As stated above, Uber self-driven cars require human operators. That means that a person, or a company, is liable for your injuries. A lawyer can help you pierce through the legal hurdles designed to obfuscate liability and drill down to the heart of the matter.
Source: The Guardian, “Uber admits to self-driving car ‘problem’ in bike lanes as safety concerns mount,” Sam Levin, December 19, 2016