After a high-profile crash in Arizona, Uber has laid off 100 self-driving car test drivers in Pittsburgh. Uber is replacing them with 55 “mission specialists” who are technical specialists trained on both test and on-road track conditions, as it continues to scale back operations in the wake of the accident.
Uber held a meeting on Wednesday, July 11th, 2018 with the 100 safety drivers, employees who ride in Uber’s self-driving vehicles and monitor their operations, to inform them that they’ve been fired from their jobs. These drivers had been kept on the payroll even though Uber suspended its self-driving tests in North America after the crash in Arizona.
Earlier this year, one of Uber’s autonomous car operators hit and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona, while it was in autopilot mode. After this incident, Uber shut down operations and laid off 300 safety drivers in Arizona.
It was later stated by the police that the woman who was operating the vehicle at the time of the accident was on her phone watching the show “The Voice” shortly before the crash. A Temple Police Department report claimed that the incident could have been completely avoidable if the driver been paying attention to the road.
An Uber spokesperson said in a statement, “Our team remains committed to building safe self-driving technology, and we look forward to returning to public roads in the coming months.”
Although it has not been perfected, driverless vehicles are getting more recognized as technology advances more. Many firms like Alphabet’s Waymo, Tesla, Apple, Samsung, as well as carmakers like Volkswagen and Nissan, are also innovating the idea of driverless vehicle’s.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi stated that the Company would continue its self-driving tests in “a few months” and plans to restart around August.