Uber has hired a former head of the national transportation safety agency following the company's fatal Arizona crash

uber driver nightmare

  • Uber announced Monday that it has hired a former chairman on the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to advise the company on safety culture following a fatal Arizona crash involving one of its self-driving cars.
  • The announcement coincides with The Information’s report that Uber determined the fatal crash was caused by a problem with the software that detected the pedestrian yet decided no reaction was needed.
  • The company said Monday that a full safety review of its self-driving vehicle program is underway as well.

Uber Technologies said Monday it has hired a former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairman to advise the company on its safety culture after a fatal self-driving crash in Arizona.

Online news outlet The Information reported Monday that Uber has determined the likely cause of the fatal collision was a problem with the software that decides how the car should react to objects it detects. The outlet said the car’s sensors detected the pedestrian but the software decided it did not need to react right away.

“We have initiated a top-to-bottom safety review of our self-driving vehicles program, and we have brought on former NTSB Chair Christopher Hart to advise us on our overall safety culture,” Uber said Monday. “Our review is looking at everything from the safety of our system to our training processes for vehicle operators, and we hope to have more to say soon.”

A 49-year-old woman was killed on March 18 after being hit by an Uber self-driving sports utility vehicle while walking across a street in Phoenix, leading the company to suspend testing of autonomous vehicles. Arizona’s governor also ordered a halt to Uber’s testing.

Uber declined to comment on the Information report. “We can’t comment on the specifics of the incident,” the company said, citing the ongoing NTSB investigation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also investigating the incident.

Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said in April the ride-sharing company still believes in the prospects for autonomous transport. “Autonomous (vehicles) at maturity will be safer,” he said at a Washington event.

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