Arizona governor, Uber kept self-driving car program secret: report
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) and Uber reportedly kept the company’s controversial self-driving car tests a secret, according to The Guardian.
After a self-driving car killed a pedestrian near Phoenix earlier this month, The Guardian obtained emails between Uber and Ducey’s office showing that the company first began testing self-driving cars in Phoenix in August 2016 without the public’s knowledge.
Ten days after the fatal car crash, the governor suspended Uber’s right to operate self-driving cars on public roads.
Ducey had previously been a strong supporter of testing self-driving vehicles in his state.
Two weeks before the crash, he signed an executive order that would allow fully driverless cars to operate in Arizona if they met federal safety standards.
According to the emails, Uber offered Ducey’s staff workspace in San Francisco and promised the governor to bring money and jobs to Arizona. The governor helped Uber reach deals with Arizona officials and publicly supported the company.
In December 2016, after California revoked the registration of Uber’s 16 self-driving test cars, the company transported the cars to Arizona, where Ducey publicly welcomed them. At the time, though, the governor failed to mention that Uber had been secretly testing such vehicles in the state since August.
By earlier this month when the deadly accident happened, half of Uber’s 200 self-driving cars were in Arizona.
A report from The New York Times showed that Uber’s self-driving cars required more human intervention than self-driving cars from other companies.
As of this month, Uber was having trouble meeting its target goal of one human intervention for every 13 miles of autonomous driving. Google’s former self-driving car project, Waymo, only required human intervention for every 5,600 miles.
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