When Nathan Stachelek, Uber driver saw that the self-driving car had turned in the wrong direction, he had to pull off the road. This happened on September 26 night and the car he saw was a car that Uber was testing known as Ford Fusions in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which was seen around the Oakland neighbourhood some steps from University of Pittsburgh.
According to Stachelek, the self-driving car turned into a one-way-road and could not tell if a human was behind the wheels or if the car was driving itself. He then quickly took his phone and captured the vehicle in a brief video and uploaded it on Facebook.
Uber had been quick in ensuring that it was the first in driverless technology backed by its valuable startup that is valued at $68 billion. The company in Pittsburgh at a media occasion revealed its self-driving cars and later on put together Ford Fusion for local riders. The company’s plan before the year ends is to add 100 Volvo SUVs to it. The company is optimistic that such cars will transform its revenue and reduce cost like the loss of $1.2 billion it had in the early part of this year which went to subsidies of drivers.
At the present, the number of hours as well as the terrain such cars can drive are limited, and there must be a safety driver that will be behind the wheel with an engineer that will seat adjacently. The company has been persisting on pushing these cars even when self-driving cars have been involved in series of accidents in the U.S. alone.
This is not the first time that Uber self-driving cars have been spotted in the wrong direction. This can only mean that the company still has a lot of work to do on such cars. The roads that these self-driving cars drive are the streets they have been trained to understand and therefore, there should not be case of mistakes.
The approach Uber takes with its self-driving cars is quite different from what Nvidia uses for it cars which is making us of computer systems to make their cars drive more like humans and will use what it has learned to apply to situations it meets on the road.
What is contained in the safety guidelines for such autonomous cars as released by the Department of Transportation, US, made it clear that one-way, ramps, no turn were some of the rules such cars must abide with.
According to Uber spokeswoman, Chelsea Kohler, the cars are considered to be at level 4 and can drive without needing human control for some environment and some situations.
Uber seems to be making use of the regulatory void that is present in Pennsylvania. The company seems to have evaded the issue of who will be held responsible should any of its self-driving cars be involved in an accident.
The company said it was in the process of getting safety drivers that will be in charge of the self-driving cars. However, Stachelek who was among those that applied for the position and was yet to hear from the company said he does not think we have entered the stage when self-driving cars will take over driving from human beings just yet.