Uber Gets Permit To Test Self-Driving Cars In California

California just granted a permit to Uber for testing its autonomous vehicles on public roads across the state. Uber is joining several other companies doing the same, such as Tesla and Waymo. These technologies are intended to transform driving as we know it and make it possible to order more driverless vehicles. Besides self-driving cars for consumers, the self-driving technology for long-haul trucks it’s also being developed.   

Uber had previously tested their autonomous vehicles. However, back in March 2018 one of their autonomous cars with an emergency backup driver struck and killed a pedestrian woman in Arizona. This is believed to be the first fatal accident and death associated with autonomous vehicles. The company decided to suspend testing right away. It’s just a reminder that self-driving technology is still young, only a decade old, and the government is also trying to figure out how to regulate everything. Also, there are many other unpredictable driving situations drivers can face, besides distracted humans.

Autonomous technology has a long way to go before it’s genuinely safe for everyone, including pedestrians, passengers, and drivers. The Uber car that killed Elaine Herzberg, a 49-year-old woman walking with her bicycle in the street, was on autonomous when the accident occurred around 10 p.m. and apparently the vehicle didn’t slow down before the impact. Also, the weather was dry and clear, and the road was wide – the perfect scenario to test the vehicle. Fortunately, Uber took the responsible step to suspend autonomous testing at the time. A police report showed that the accident was entirely avoidable and in 2019 Uber was found not criminally liable for the accident.

Other companies such as Lyft, Waymo, Ford, Honda, and BMW have joined the self-driving venture and have already begun to expand testing of their autonomous vehicles in California – some in other cities throughout the country. Regulators in California have become more accommodating recently. California is following Arizona in allowing self-driving vehicles to be tested without a person behind the wheel. Federal policymakers are also working on a senate bill, which if passed would free self-driving car manufacturers from some existing safety laws.

Domino’s and Nuro – a robotics company transforming local commerce, joined forces on autonomous pizza delivery. These vehicles are specially designed to improve the food delivery experience. Walmart had also disclosed its plans to use Nuro’s R2 as part of its future grocery pickup and delivery services. Amazon ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles with deliveries starting in 2021. UPS is doing the same.

Self-driving technology is evolving faster than we like to think. From the take-me-to-work experience to grocery shopping, and pizza delivery, driving will become outdated – at least the type we are accustomed to.

Many studies confirm that the safety features of autonomous vehicles can reduce the risk of accidents. However, it will put other drivers at risk, which may not turn into affordable premiums based on where you shop for car insurance. For now, make sure you insure your current vehicle with the help of one of our licensed agents. Request a quote here. 


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