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Uber’s Driverless Car Ran a Red Light in San Francisco (But It Was a Human’s Fault)

This summer, Uber revealed that it had plans to introduce self-driving cars to our roadways as soon as this year. The vehicles were reportedly set to feature “dozens of sensors that use cameras, lasers, radar, and GPS receivers,” as well as two employees: One in the driver’s seat to take over in case something goes wrong, and one more sitting shotgun to take notes on a laptop.

Well, the year’s quickly coming to an end now, and sure enough, there are in fact driverless Uber cars navigating the streets of San Francisco right now. One of them, though, isn’t exactly on its best behavior, as dashcam footage from a local taxi company shows a self-driving Uber running through a red light (via The San Francisco Examiner).

However, in a statement provided to TechCrunch, Uber claims the incident was due not to a shortcoming in the vehicle’s technology, but to the human driver behind the wheel: “This incident was due to human error. This is why we believe so much in making the roads safer by building self-driving Ubers. This vehicle was not part of the pilot and was not carrying customers. The driver involved has been suspended while we continue to investigate.”

A Lyft passenger also reported almost being struck by one of Uber’s cars of the future, tweeting, “Just passed a ‘self-driving’ Uber that lurched into the intersection on Van Ness, on a red, nearly hitting my Lyft.”

If that incident was also due to human error, maybe we really do need to get out of the driver’s seat and let the self-driving cars take over.

Featured image: Alper Çuğun/Flickr


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