Uber's Self-Driving Cars Still Have Some Work to Do

Alphabet has nabbed a new VP as it gears up for government battles over self-driving car regulation

The worst week Uber had for critical interventions was the week of February 8, where cars only made it an average of 50 miles before the driver had perform one. This, in turn, could prevent Uber from rolling out a fleet of autonomous vehicles within the timeframe it has envisioned.

Uber's fleet of self-driving prototype vehicles is reportedly making slow progress toward achieving true autonomous operation without requiring frequent human intervention.

Uber is one of a good number of names in the self-driving auto scene these days, but apparently quantity does not always equal quality - internal documents indicate that Uber's self-driving vehicles have only barely reached the point where they can go a whole mile, on average, before a human driver on board is forced to take over.

Apparently, robots are steadily increasing the number of miles they can drive without human assistance, but drivers still need to take over the controls.

Still, this probably isn't what Uber had in mind when it set out to test self-driving technology in real world scenarios. Notably, Uber has yet to publicly announce these numbers.

Internal documents obtained and analyzed by Recode provide a glimpse of Uber's project statistics for autonomous pilot projects in Phoenix, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

We must note that the described events can happen in any self-driving vehicle fleet, and they are particularly common in the early phases of testing for these automobiles.

Lastly, there is also the measurement of bad experiences by passengers, which includes things such as abrupt jerking of the vehicles and sudden braking.

A test in Arizona, on the Scottsdale Road, ended with the cars able to go only 0.67 miles between interventions and two miles between bad events.

Recode reports that the company's 43 active self-driving cars in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and California logged 20,354 autonomous miles last week. Specifically, the week ending on March 8 saw humans assuming control on average every 0.8 miles.

Uber declined to comment on the report, but a spokesperson for the company cautioned against comparing these results to the self-driving progress reports Google's Waymo has released, since the companies measure interventions differently.

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