Uber’s Problems Before Phoenix Pedestrian Accident
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento lawyer for self-driving car accidents. The Uber accident in Phoenix where a pedestrian was killed was not the beginning of the company’s problems. Aside from a long court battle with Waymo, Google’s former autonomous car project, Uber’s ability to compete was already tarnished.
Uber’s Troubles Began With a Lawsuit
In February 2017, Google filed a lawsuit against Uber and Otto. Otto was founded in 2016 by two former Google employees. The lawsuit contended that one of the employees, Anthony Levandowski, had downloaded 14,000 self-driving technology files from Google before leaving. Otto was acquired by Uber in January 2017 for $680 million. The lawsuit by Waymo was filed in February. It was settled one year later with Uber paying 0.34 percent of Uber holdings, amounting to $245 million. The CEO of Uber at the time, Travis Kalanick, was said to be involved in the deal and resigned in June 2017. He was replaced by the current CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi. Coming out of this, Uber and its CEO were charged with rebuilding Uber’s image as well as the autonomous program.
Watch YouTube Video: Uber agrees to settlement with Waymo over trade secrets. Uber has agreed to pay $245 million in stocks to Google’s Waymo self-driving car division in the settlement of a trade secrets lawsuit.
Uber is in competition with several leaders in self-driving cars. Among them are Waymo, General Motors, Toyota, and Lyft. Together, the companies have invested billions in bringing self-driving car technology to life. Uber began testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 2016. The company was actively testing vehicles in California before concentrating its efforts in Arizona, due to Arizona’s easy regulation of autonomous vehicles.
Race to Launch Self-Driving Vehicles
All five leaders in self-driving technology are in a race to clock miles driven and hours of driving time without the need for human intervention. Waymo is still the leader with miles driven in 2017 by autonomous vehicles. GM/Cruise is a close contender. Both show the respectable distance between incidents that require a human driver to intercede due to a possible problem on the road. Both are required to report incidents/interventions in California. Uber is not yet required to make intervention reports due to the length of time it has been testing in California. Intervention reports are not required in Arizona. Uber recently announced that it would not be renewing its California testing application.
Miles Between Interventions
The number of interventions per mile driven is a good way to measure how reliable the autonomous system is. Waymo leads the pack with 352,545 miles driven in California and 63 interventions. GM/Cruise is second with 127,516 miles driven and 105 interventions. Uber, while not officially reporting, is said to have driven 20,354 miles in March 2017 and reportedly had one intervention per mile. Uber has since maintained that this metric is not a measure of safety.
Switch From Two Backup Drivers to One
Uber has switched from two human backup drivers to one as has Waymo. The Uber drivers were assigned separate tasks. One driver would be ready to intercede and watch the road, while the other driver recorded data and made reports. The change to one driver requires that he or she also records data and interventions as well as watches the road. This means recording done on a computer unit is done when the vehicle is stopped such as at a traffic light. Uber drivers, however, have said that it is being done while the car is in travel mode. Waymo has built a voice recorder button into the steering wheel, enabling the driver to make notations without the need to look away.
Injuries Due to Failing to Intervene in Time
Distracted driving is a problem. The hope with autonomous vehicles is that the vehicle will not be distracted. In the testing phase, human backup drivers are needed to prevent serious injuries such as not stopping in time to avoid pedestrian accidents or passing through an intersection without stopping due to a hidden stop sign.
Sacramento Lawyer for Self-Driving Car Accidents
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento lawyer for self-driving car accidents. If you have been injured in a self-driving car crash, you need legal representation by someone experienced in autonomous car technology. Call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 anytime for free, friendly advice. You can reach me online too on my website AutoAccidents.com.
I belong to the Million Dollar Advocates. This is a nationwide forum of trial attorneys inducted only if they won or negotiated $1 million or more in verdicts and settlements for clients.
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Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/app-apple-hand-holding-ios-iphone-2941689/
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