Despite one of its self-driving prototypes being involved in a fatal crash recently, Uber is pushing ahead with the development of autonomous car technology.
Last month a 49-year-old woman was killed when a self-driving Volvo Uber prototype struck her in Arizona. The incident put a halt to testing of the ride-sharing company's tech and raised question marks over the safety and viability of self-driving cars, but Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi insists the company will continue to work on the technology. 'We believe in it,' he said. 'Autonomous (vehicles) at maturity will be safer.'
The company is currently dealing with the incident 'very seriously' and assisting the The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with its investigations. 'They are a neutral party,' said Khosrowshahi. 'They understand this. We'll figure out what we do afterwards,' he added, giving nothing away about when Uber would resume its autonomous car testing.
In the meantime, Uber's licence to test self-driving cars in Arizona has been suspended. The state had been a key hub for the company's autonomous tech testing, with half of the company's 200 self-driving test cars and hundreds of staff based in the area.
Arizona governor Doug Ducey last month called the incident 'disturbing and alarming' last month, branding the crash 'an unquestionable failure.'
Uber had previously signed a development deal with Volvo, which will see the two parties produce self-driving cars on the Swedish manufacturer's fully modular scalable product architecture (SPA), that is currently used on Volvo's 90 series cars as well as on the new XC60 SUV. 'Tens of thousands' of cars with autonomous capabilities between are expected to be produced and delivered by the partnership between 2019 and 2021.