As you all know, Uber is in rough waters lately. Recently, we witnessed Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, arguing over falling fares. Then coming back with a public apology and promising to better his management skills. Just when we thought the troubles were behind, yesterday Uber came across another issue. Uber’s much publicized, self-driving, highly sophisticated Volvo SUVs got into an accident, leaving the vehicle flipped on its side. It appears to be a high-speed crash, and damages to at least two other human-driven cars.
Uber has provided a public statement: “We are continuing to look into this incident and can confirm we had no backseat passengers in the vehicle.” Because of this incident, Uber’s rest of the self-driving fleet has been suspended until the cause of the accident is researched and investigation completed.
Another concerning incident involving an Uber self-driving car occurred last December in California, when one of its vehicles ran a red light — though Uber blamed this on human error, rather than the fault of the self-driving tech. (Although a New York Times report, citing two Uber sources, claimed the opposite.)
Leaked internal corporate documents have also suggested Uber’s self-driving technology isn’t making steady improvements.
In February, the head of Uber’s self-drive program — who is himself being sued for allegedly stealing technology from Google’s Waymo, where he used to work, and using it to set up Otto, the self-driving truck startup that Uber acquired in August last year — confirmed Uber has 12 self-driving cars on the roads in Phoenix and Pittsburgh.
On top of all of this, Uber is also facing a storm of controversy over allegations of systemic sexism which hurts its corporate culture — with president Jeff Jones leaving in recent days, and reports that Uber denied recruiters diversity data, piling more pressure on founder and CEO Travis Kalanick.