The ride-hailing giant has had numerous setbacks when discussing its autonomous car research efforts – including court drama, regulator drama and other general… drama.
These few months that have passed since 2017 started haven’t brought great news for Uber’s autonomous development efforts – they were thrown out of California (they returned) and slapped with a potentially destructive lawsuit originating from Google’s Waymo. Now, according to reports, they are also having technical problems. According to the rumors, Uber’s self-driving fleet in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and California is making an average of at least 20,000 autonomous miles per week, but the vehicles are actually requesting human assistance way too often.
Documents that allegedly come from Uber’s self-driving division show the engineers keeping track of progress from behind the wheels actually had to take over on average every single mile. It turns out, the progress is actually going backwards – it was a not so great average of 0.9 miles back in January and at the beginning of March it dropped to an even worse average of every 0.8 miles. This of course doesn’t mean all driver interventions resulted in the avoidance of possible collisions – it also takes into account small annoyances such as difficulty navigating lane markings or missing turns. At least, the statistics for critical interventions – those required to avoid collisions have improved: once every 50 miles back in February, surging to once for 200 miles in March.