Uber suspends its self-driving cars from Roads after crash in US

Uber had refused to apply for a $150 permit to test the vehicles in the city

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Uber began testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh and is now rolling out the service in San Francisco. (Uber), VOA

Washington, March 26, 2017: US ride-hailing company Uber has suspended its self-driving cars from the roads after one such vehicle crashed in Arizona, the media reported on Sunday.

Pictures posted online showed the car on its right side on a street, next to another badly damaged vehicle, the BBC reported.

US-based Fresco News posted the images and video on Facebook on Saturday and wrote: “No injuries yet reported in an accident involving a self-driving Uber.”

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A police official said the accident occurred when the other vehicle “failed to yield” to the Uber car at a left turn.

“There was a person behind the wheel. It is uncertain at this time if they were controlling the vehicle at the time of the collision,” the official said.

The company pulled its self-driving vehicles off the road in Arizona at first, followed by test sites in Pennsylvania and California — all three states where it operated the vehicles.

Uber began testing its self-driving cars in Arizona in February after California’s Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the registrations of the company’s fleet operating in San Francisco.

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Uber had refused to apply for a $150 permit to test the vehicles in the city.

Already mired in several controversies, this crash is the latest in a string of highly public incidents involving the ride-sharing company.

The company lost several big executives since February.

Last week, Uber President Jeff Jones said he was quitting after six months on the job. The company confirmed Jones’ departure.

“We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best,” the company said in a statement.

Uber’s head of growth and product, Ed Baker, resigned from the company early in March. Also, an India-born Uber executive quit over an old harassment claim.

Amit Singhal, who was born in Uttar Pradesh, left his job for not disclosing an allegation of sexual harassment by his former employer Google.

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Uber is also fighting a legal battle after Google’s self-driving car company Waymo filed a lawsuit against Uber for allegedly stealing trade secrets and technology from it.

The lawsuit, filed on March 9 against Uber’s self-driving vehicle unit Otto that it bought last year for $680 million, argued that former Waymo manager Anthony Levandowski took information when he left the company and later co-founded Otto in January 2016.

The company said it found that six weeks before his resignation, Levandowski downloaded over 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files for Waymo’s various hardware systems, including designs of Waymo’s custom-built “Light Detection and Ranging” (LiDAR) and circuit board.

Levandowski copied the data to an external drive. He later wiped and reformatted the laptop in an attempt to erase forensic fingerprints. (IANS)