Uber 'grounding' self-driving vehicles in Arizona after one is involved in Tempe crash

Posted at 4:25 PM, Mar 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-27 13:39:36-04

Uber is suspending a self-driving car program in Arizona after one of its vehicles was involved in a crash in Tempe.

On Friday evening, an autonomous vehicle was involved in an accident with another car near McClintock Drive and Apache Boulevard.

The Uber SUV was not responsible for the crash, police said. The other driver failed to yield to the Uber and caused it to flip on its side.

There was a person behind the wheel of the autonomous SUV but it’s unknown if they were in control of the car at the time of the crash, police said.

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However, an Uber spokesperson said the car was in “self-driving mode” during the collision. Uber also added that there weren't any backseat passengers in the SUV at the time of the crash.

“There were no serious injuries reported at this time,” an Uber spokesperson said.

As a result of the incident, Uber announced Saturday that they’ll be “grounding” their Arizona-based cars during the investigation.

Uber began rolling out their self-driving cars in the Grand Canyon state in February. Uber users were given the option to use a self-driving car by requesting an UberX.

The move comes after California banned the self-driving program from its roads over lack of required permits. The California Department of Motor Vehicles threatened legal action against the ride-hailing company if it continued to operate without the special permits.

After weeks of negotiating, Uber pulled the vehicles from California and began testing in Arizona.  

Governor Doug Ducey welcomed Uber and slammed California for “over-regulation.” He also added that not only is the move about economic development, but it’s “changing the way we live and work…California may not want you, but we do.”

Uber has been no stranger to the limelight in recent months. The company's President Jeff Jones quit earlier this week after less than a year holding the position. 

Last month, a former female engineer released a blog alleging systemic sexism at the company and in January, #DeleteUber went viral when Uber turned off airport surge pricing as New York City taxi drivers protested President Trump's travel ban.