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.
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.
Tempe Police Vehicular Crimes Unit is actively investigating
the details of this incident that occurred on March 18th. We will provide updated information regarding the investigation once it is available. pic.twitter.com/2dVP72TziQ
— Tempe Police (@TempePolice) March 21, 2018