3 Bumps on the Road Ahead for Shared Autonomous Vehicles
The Uber that blew through a red light in San Francisco raised unanswered questions about policing, manufacturers’ guidelines, and shared space.
The video, dated December 14, now has close to two million views on YouTube: The light turns red at a busy San Francisco intersection, a pedestrian steps into the crosswalk, and an SUV with a giant headlamp sails right through. It was an Uber equipped for self-driving, the sort of vehicle that’s promised to essentially eliminate the dangers of human driving. But it had just narrowly avoided collision with a person exercising his right of way.
Tech companies are afforded a lot of special privileges in their use of San Francisco’s public space, but they’re also subject to heavy scrutiny. It didn’t take long for officials, and the media, to discover that Uber, which had started testing robo-Volvos with humans behind the wheel in San Francisco days before, wasn’t actually permitted to operate autonomous vehicles in California. Uber claimed that the red-light fiasco was caused by human error, and that they hadn’t needed the permits since the cars had human drivers monitoring the wheel. California wouldn’t hear it: The DMV ordered the cars off the roads, or else—so Uber moved AV testing to Arizona, where the governor is thrilled to have them.
Clearly, Uber’s hail-able AVs won’t be withering away under the Southwestern sun. The San Francisco incident raised a lot of questions about how new mobility services and automation intersect, and what lies ahead for cities working out how to handle the promise of shared, self-driving vehicles. Here are three areas where we can expect more action soon. See full article HERE