Autonomous Car Crash Fuels Panic Over Their Future.
But Apparently, UBER Had Turned Off Avoidance System.
“Most Stressful Job On The Road; Not Driving an Autonomous Car”
Much hot air has been expended following the fatality in Phoenix, Arizona, after the UBER autonomous experimental Volvo XC90 collided with and killed a pedestrian.
This would mean trouble for companies developing autonomous driving. The technology would be delayed for years, and maybe not ever become road reliable.
The trouble is, it wasn’t in autonomous mode at the time.According to Aptiv, which supplied the vehicle’s radar and camera using Mobileye chips and sensors, UBER disabled the standard collision avoidance technology. UBER hasn’t comment.
After news of the fatality and the video showing how it happened, typical of the reaction was this from BMI Research. The incident could threaten to undermine public confidence in the vehicles. Legislation to ensure safety would come under renewed scrutiny and might slowdown laws needed to regulate it.
Morgan Stanley took the opportunity to remind investors of its scepticism about autonomous cars.
“We believe that market expectations of near-term penetration of fully autonomous vehicles may be too high,” said Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas. Most investors are between one and two decades too optimistic about the ubiquitous adoption of autonomous cars, he said.
This isn’t because of the technology but because public acceptance of it will lag.
“However, we also believe that after we hit that inflection point it may be even steeper and more transformative than the market expects,” Jonas said.
In all the furore following the accident, one headline in the Wall Street Journal sticks in the mind.
“Most Stressful Job On The Road; Not Driving an Autonomous Car”.