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Uber puts first self-driving car back on the road since death

Dec 20 2018 20:01
Eric Newcomer, Bloomberg

Uber, which halted its self-driving car programme after the death of a pedestrian in March, will return one or two self-driving cars to public roads in Pittsburgh on Thursday, the company said.

Uber said it received the all-clear from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation this week. The self-driving car program has been suspended as the National Transportation Safety Board investigated the pedestrian fatality in Tempe, Arizona, and as state officials reviewed Uber’s authorisation.

This is the first time Uber is returning autonomous vehicles to public roads since the accident. In order to collect data, Uber had previously deployed some autonomous vehicles in manual mode, meaning that human drivers were operating them at all times.

On Thursday, Uber will also deploy cars in San Francisco and Toronto in the manual, human-driven mode.

True autonomous testing will resume in Pittsburgh, but it will be more limited than before. Uber’s cars will drive at speeds of 25 miles per hour or below, the company said. Uber announced a number of other safety measures, including improvements to braking, operator training and driver monitoring.

"Over the past nine months, we’ve made safety core to everything we do," said Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group.

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