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Uber hits red light on autonomous car tests after accident in Arizona

Uber is suspending autonomous car tests after one of its self-driving vehicles crashed into another car in Tempe, Arizona. While no one was injured in the accident, Uber’s autonomous vehicle trials are on hold until police investigations are complete.

Images and videos of the accident were released on Twitter by @FrescoNews. 

The photos show one of Uber’s self-driving Volvo SUVs on its side and another vehicle next to it, with dents and smashed windows. 

The official police report said the crash does not appear to have been caused by the self-driving system, rather that the other car did not yield way for Uber’s car, which resulted in the vehicle flipping on its side.

Tempe police officer Josie Montenegro told Bloomberg that Uber’s autonomous car was not responsible for the crash and no one was injured.

Montenegro said: “There was a person behind the wheel; it is uncertain at this time if they were controlling the vehicle at the time of the collision.”

Uber’s tests involving autonomous vehicles are now entirely suspended until the police complete their investigation on the incident.  

An Uber spokeswoman said: “We are continuing to look into this incident and can confirm we had no backseat passengers in the vehicle.”

This issue is the latest in a series that the company has had to face since it first started testing its self-driving cars in Pittsburgh towards the end of 2016.

In December 2016, the California Department of Motor Vehicles banned the company’s test vehicles circulating around San Francisco, threatening legal action if the company did not cease its tests or attain permits necessary to operate self-driving vehicles in California.

Uber’s self-driving car program has also been involved in a controversial debate involving Waymo, Google Alphabet’s autonomous driving company, which has begun legal proceedings against the transport company for allegedly stealing trade secrets regarding a component of self-driving vehicles.  

Recently, Uber has also been embroiled in allegations that it fosters a sexist work environment and also of encouraging its drivers to evade government regulators by using a tool called Greyball, a computer program used to identify local authorities and reroute Uber drivers away from them.

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