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Uber suspends driverless car trial after crash leaves vehicle on its side

Police in Arizona say it's unclear whether vehicle was in autonomous mode when incident happened...

Uber has suspended its trial of self-driving vehicles after one ended up on its side following a crash in Arizona.

It is unclear whether either of the engineers who were in the Volvo 4x4 car when the crash happened in Tempe was in control of the vehicle, or whether it was in autonomous mode, reports the Guardian.

Police spokeswoman Josie 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.”

She said that the crash took place because a motorist in another car had not yielded to the Uber car at a left turn. No-one sustained serious injury in the incident.

The ride-hailing business has been trialling self-driving vehicles in California and Pennsylvania as well as Arizona, but has suspended such activities in all three states while it investigates what went wrong.

It’s not the first time the company’s trial of self-driving vehicles has been in the news due to safety concerns.

In December, cycling campaigner Brian Wiedenmeier attended a demonstration of Uber’s autonomous vehicle in San Francisco and said he twice saw it make an “unsafe right-hook-style turn through a bike lane.”

Despite the issue being pointed out to it, Uber still pressed ahead with a trial on public roads, where another of its self-driving vehicles failed to stop at a red light.

> Uber self-driving cars making unsafe turns across cycle lanes – and firm knew before launching live trial

The company has also seen the departure of a number of executives including president Jeff Jones in the past few weeks and is also been under fire due to employment practices and business ethics.

Earlier this month, footage emerged of a Nissan car making a close pass on a cyclist in London as it was being tested in driverless mode.

> Video: Nissan driverless car in cyclist close pass

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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