Leaked Documents Show Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Required Human Intervention Every .8 Miles

Vehicles struggle to take anyone even a single mile without human intervention.

March 17, 2017
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Uber wants to take us to a future where self-driving cars are ubiquitous and human drivers are irrelevant. However, if newly leaked documents are correct, the company’s autonomous vehicles struggle to take anyone even a single mile without human intervention.

That’s right, the safety drivers overseeing the autonomous cars allegedly had to seize control of the vehicles on average once every .8 miles, according to internal documents obtained by Recode. That stat specifically applies to the week that ended on March 8, 2017, and covers 43 active cars.

Was it just a bad week for the ride-hail giant? Nope. The same documents show that toward the end of January flesh-and-blood drivers took control on average every .9 miles — hitting the once-per-mile mark in February before slipping back down.

This is not the first hint of technical difficulty to come out of Uber’s controversial car program. When it first launched in San Francisco this past December, a car was filmed running a red light. Uber quickly blamed the error on the human driver, but The New York Times reported later that (surprise!) the technology was actually to blame.

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