Uber has had no choice but to move carefully.
“Slow,” “steady” and “deliberate” are rarely used when describing Uber. But months after an Uber vehicle operating in autonomous mode fatally crashed into a pedestrian, the company has had no choice but to move carefully.
After pulling all of its self-driving cars off public roads, laying off all the vehicle operators in Pittsburgh and San Francisco and shutting down its Arizona self-driving operation, Uber is very gradually beginning to prepare to start testing self-driving cars again. That starts with manually driving its fleet of Volvo XC90s in Pittsburgh to map out the streets.
Mapping out city streets is essentially square one for testing self-driving cars — that’s a tough spot to be in as a company with serious ambitions for developing autonomous technology, especially in the face of massive competition. But Uber has to move slowly to regain the trust of not just the public, but also city and local governments.
This gradual start in Pittsburgh also gives Uber time to implement some of the safety features and changes recommended by an internal team of experts that conducted a review of the company’s self-driving development and operation.