Corporations such as Google and Uber have been dabbling in the driverless car game for years, with a fairly excellent track record…until now.
The cars, which are commonly referred to as “headless” vehicles, rely on cameras and an advanced GPS system to navigate the highways and byways of America. By automating these vehicles, both companies hoped to create a safer alternative to drivers who are, by their very nature, subject to the woes of human error.
Critics have decried these robotic chauffeurs as dangerous job thieves that couldn’t possibly operate at their intended level so long as other human-controlled cars are on the streets. Those naysayers may be right.
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“In a photo posted on Twitter, one of Uber’s Volvo self-driving SUVs is pictured on its side next to another car with dents and smashed windows. An Uber spokeswoman confirmed the incident, and the veracity of the photo, in an email to Bloomberg News.
“The spokeswoman could not immediately confirm if there were any injuries, or whether the car was carrying passengers. Uber’s self-driving cars began picking up customers in Arizona last month.
“Uber, and Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick, are under scrutiny because of a series of scandals. The ride-hailing company has been accused of operating a sexist workplace. This month, the New York Times reported that Uber used a tool called Greyball to help drivers evade government regulators and enforcement officials. And Kalanick said he needed ‘leadership help’ after Bloomberg published a video showing him arguing with an Uber driver.
“Uber’s self-driving car program has also been mired in controversy. Waymo, Alphabet Inc.’s autonomous driving business, sued an Uber unit called Otto earlier this year for allegedly stealing designs for an important component of driverless cars known as lidar. Uber called the suit ‘baseless.'”
Alphabet is the parent company of internet behemoth Google, whose self-driving car program has been in the works for some time, despite opposition from law enforcement.