The fatal accident, Uber does not hinder the autonomous cars

Avto 28 March, 2018
  • AFP


    Wednesday, 28 march 2018 06:49

    Wednesday, 28 march 2018 06:53

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    SAN FRANCISCO | Despite the fears revived by the fatal accident that involved an autonomous car of Uber in mid-march, the race is fierce – and expensive – to the vehicle without the driver continues most beautiful.

    The american group has suspended all of its tests of autonomous car on the road on 19 march, the aftermath of an accident that claimed the life of a pedestrian in the vicinity of Phoenix, Arizona, where several other companies (Waymo, General Motors, etc) test also vehicles without a driver.

    On Monday, the authorities of that State have banned Uber driving of such vehicles on its roads, citing the ” public safety “.

    Arizona, which authorizes the testing of autonomous cars for years, has the law more flexible in the matter: it is even possible to roll a car without a human behind the wheel, not even a security operator, which is already done by Waymo, the subsidiary’s conduct independent of Alphabet/Google, over the past few months.

    Many companies (technology groups, manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers (oems), alone or through alliances, working on the autonomous control is seen as the future of transportation.

    They engage in a fierce battle, with billions of dollars, in the race for who will be the first car completely stand-alone on the roads; a promise usually made for 2019 or 2020.

    Waymo, which promises even opening a taxi service self-sustaining this year, announced on Tuesday a partnership with the british manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover, as proof that race continues in spite of the fears expressed.

    The consumers ‘association, Consumer Watchdog believes,” cars without a driver are not ready for the roads “. Democratic senator Richard Blumenthal says of him that ” the autonomous control still has a long way to go before we are completely safe “.

    Waymo, considered to be one of the most advanced in this technology, has taken care to give a pledge: “It is partly our responsibility to ensure that (…) the cities in which we are present, and that the regulators who manage these cities include our technology “, said Tuesday on channel CNBC to its CEO John Krafcik.

    Saturday, he had even assured that his technology would have avoided the crash which involved a vehicle from Uber, in particular because of the fact that Waymo has accumulated since 2009 to more than 8 million kilometres on roads frequented by pedestrians, without being involved in a fatal accident.

    “Lots of benefits”

    Uber him, has been hit hard by the consequences of the accident. It said on Tuesday not requested the renewal of the permission to test its autonomous vehicles on california roads.

    The manufacturer of microprocessors, Nvidia, some components were used on the vehicle Uber involved in the accident, has announced on Tuesday the suspension of its tests on the autonomous vehicle on the road pending the results of the investigation. He has paid a lot of money on Wall Street, where its share decreased to account for 7.76% (Uber is not quoted in the stock Exchange).

    If the japanese Toyota has also decided to suspend its testing of autonomous control, the German BMW has announced to maintain its projects.

    The fatal accident, however, should not fundamentally put in question the autonomous control in general, estimates Adie Tomer, the group’s independent research, The Brookings Institution.

    “It certainly will be calls to halt all testing of autonomous vehicles, not just the program Uber. The anger could slow the pace of authorization of testing in other States and cities, ” he wrote.

    “But the technological advances are difficult to stop,” says the specialist of the urban space. “Autonomous vehicles offer many advantages, such as greater safety on long journeys, or be able to travel hands free “, he adds, noting also the economic issue: “there are too many private investment already committed to without it.”

    The u.s. house of Representatives has approved in September a text intended to facilitate the deployment of autonomous vehicles, by preventing the States from imposing regulations that are too restrictive.

    But on Tuesday, an investigation was opened by the federal authorities to shed light on a fatal accident that occurred last week in California and involving an electric car Tesla, equipped with the system of Autopilot, the software that allows a number of maneuvers without driver intervention.