Uber's Self-Driving Service Hits Rough Patch, Discrepancies Reported

Oct 05, 2016 10:12 AM EDT | Fritz Flores

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It looks like mobile app Uber's initial run of automated driving service is encountering major roadblocks as there have been reported incidents involving some road trouble.

One of the most recent incidents was reported by a man named Nathan Stachelek, who saw a self-driving Ford Fusion heading towards a wrong way in Pittsburgh earlier this week.

Stachelek, coincidentally an Uber driver himself, was able to capture a brief snippet of the incident. He also told Quartz that a designated driver may have tried to steer the vehicle into a different direction instead so as to avoid any rubble.

This incident also adds up to a growing list of Uber self-driving incidents in the metro. A little earlier before Stachelek's account, other witnesses saw two cars (one of them being a autonomous driving Uber) that have been pulled over in the same area after what seemed to be a collision.

Self-driving cars, in general, have been a subject of scrutiny due to safety conditions being compromised which already includes a severe casualty.

Despite the increasing security concerns over such service, Uber has not elevated such incidents at an alarming state. The company has reiterated that safety precautions are always in place, with a human driver taking in charge still of the whole self-driving mechanism.

However, such encounters are indicative of the need for more pro-active responses from the company with regards to the rollout of such service. Writing for Engadget, Jon Fingas argues that Uber needs to establish a clearer agreement with the local government of Pittsburgh. This is in terms of identifying and mapping the areas where autonomous driving can carefully traverse.   

Uber has been working on transitioning towards a driver-free mechanism for their services as it can get rid of driver subsidies which take up at least half of their reported annual losses.

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