Uber CEO Is Adamant Autonomous Vehicles Are The Future

Despite last month’s fatal accident, Uber still sees a future in self-driving transport according to its chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi.

Taking to the stage at a recent transport forum, Khosrowshahi said the ride-hailing company remains committed to the technolog,y but failed to specify how long it will suspend testing of its autonomous prototypes for, Reuters reports.

“We believe in it [autonomy],” Khosrowshahi said, commenting that autonomous vehicles are “part of the solution” in eliminating individual car ownership. “Autonomous (vehicles) at maturity will be safer,” he added.

Also read: Uber intended to introduce autonomous ride-hailing later this year

The future of Uber’s self-driving car prototype has been up in the air since a 49-year-old pedestrian was killed by a company prototype operating in autonomous mode. Uber is currently cooperating with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the incident.

“They are a neutral party. They understand this. We’ll figure out what we do afterwards,” Khosrowshahi said.

At the start of the month, a comprehensive investigation by The New Yorker revealed that Khosrowshahi had considered shutting down the company’s self-driving car program due to the huge costs. However, he was soon convinced otherwise.

In response to the fatal crash, the governor of Arizona suspended Uber’s ability to test self-driving vehicles on the state’s roads, while experts who have run simulations have said that the crash was avoidable. Clearly, then, autonomous vehicles are far from mature, so we’ll have to see if Uber and others who are investing in the technology are really in it for the long run.

  • LWOAP

    Dara is right, though. They are the future. I just don’t see Uber playing any significant role in that future as things currently stand.

    • brn

      Agreed. Of those putting a lot of effort into autonomous cars, Uber appears to be the the least competent.

  • benT

    Autonomous vehicles may have a future but – reality – is it going to give the bloke in the outer outer suburbs or the remote regional area anything at all. No.

    The Volvos have pedestrian avoidance technology built-in and so far I have not found any explanation as to why the Uber-rubbish-afflicted Volvo SUV XC90 overrode the Volvo avoidance systems and caused the car to hit and kill the pedestrian.

    Maybe the Uber approach to redundancy of drivers is matched by their resolve to make pedestrian traffic redundant also?

    I wonder if Uber began to treat humans as living breathing then their systems may slowly begin to reflect this view.

    Volvo have a corporate resolve to not have any passenger in their cars die in an accident from 2020. Their other avoidance systems have not shown up as failing – to my knowledge.