Date
17 January 2019
File photo of an Uber self-driving car being tested in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo: AFP
File photo of an Uber self-driving car being tested in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo: AFP

Uber wins Pennsylvania nod to resume self-driving car testing

Uber Technologies Inc. received approval from Pennsylvania to resume self-driving car testing on public roads this week, nine months after it suspended the program following a deadly accident in Arizona, Reuters reports, citing state records.

A company spokeswoman said on Tuesday Uber has not yet resumed testing. In November, Uber said it was seeking permission from Pennsylvania to resume testing more than seven months after a deadly self-driving crash in Arizona. 

Uber said last month that when it resumed testing it would do so with two employees in the front seat, enable an automatic braking system at all times, and more strictly monitor safety employees. 

Reuters reported earlier this month that after it received approval from Pennsylvania, Uber planned to begin driving “a handful” of cars on a mile loop between two company offices in Pittsburgh, where Uber first debuted its autonomous vehicles in 2016, company spokeswoman Sarah Abboud said.  

The relaunch is a dramatic downsize from Uber’s previous operation. The company in the past unleashed its fleet in autonomous mode on public roads at high speeds, after dark, in areas crowded with pedestrians and with a single backup driver in the front seat.  

This time, the cars will not operate at night or in wet weather, and will not exceed speeds of 25 miles per hour, Abboud said. The company has no plans to resume picking up passengers in the robot cars, a service Uber launched in 2016.  

In March, authorities in Arizona suspended Uber’s ability to test its self-driving cars after one of its cars hit and killed a woman crossing the street at night in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe, Uber’s largest testing hub. Uber also voluntarily halted its entire autonomous car testing program. 

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