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Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi still Believes in Driverless Cars

Uber’s self-driving car programme had the dubious honour of causing the first deadly driverless collision in human history.

Uber’s CEO still believes that self-driving cars have a bright future ahead, regardless of the deadly  accident that, last month, cast a pall on the company’s  driverless tech programme.

According to Reuters Uber’s top executive Dara Khosrowshahi was speaking at a transport-focused event when he declared that the company he helms was still a believer in the potential of autonomous vehicle.

“We believe in it,” Khosrowshahi said. He also explained  that Uber regarded driverless cars “part of the solution”  and an essential tool  to eliminate individual car ownership.

“Autonomous vehicles at maturity will be safer,” he added. He also said that Uber’s recent move of purchasing electric bike-sharing service Jump should not be interpreted as a pivot away from self-driving cars.

All the same, Khosrowshahi stopped short of saying when Uber itself will reboot its driverless car trials in Arizona, or to comment at length on the accident that bestowed on Uber the unenviable honour of causing the first driverless fatality in human history.

In late March, a woman was killed after being hit a Uber self-driving car in Tempe, Arizona. The car fail to brake, and so did the Uber safety driver, who was looking down when the fatal collision happened.

The crash triggered investigations by U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) ., and Uber immediately stopped testing of its driverless cars in the state;   Arizona’s governor later made that official, yanking Uber’s permit for testing its cars in the state. Governor Doug Ducey  called the accident “an unquestionable failure” on Uber’s tech.

Khosrowshahi was apparently relaxed about the investigations.  “They are a neutral party,” he said. “They understand this. We’ll figure out what we do afterwards.”

In a recent profile on The New York Times it was rumoured that Khosrowshahi had planned to shut down Uber’s self-driving car division once he took over from beleaguered CEO Travis Kalanick in 2017. But , at least publicly, Khosrowshahi seems to be still very much a member of the pro-driverless team.

Image via bit.ly/2JJtluT

 

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