Uber Pauses Autonomous Vehicle Testing Amid Coronavirus Fears

Uber’s autonomous vehicle trials have been stymied by the coronavirus.

VentureBeat reports that Uber’s Uber Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) has halted testing on its driverless vehicle program, with ATG CEO Eric Meyhofer saying “following recent guidance from local and state officials in areas where we operate our self-driving vehicles, we are pausing all test track and on-road testing until further notice.”

Their goal, Meyhofer said, “is to help flatten the curve of community spread.”

ATG restarted self-driving car trials less than a week ago in San Francisco after it was given a permit by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The cars, which are driven on select roads and do not pick up passengers, are staffed by two safety drivers on the front seats. A company spokesperson said that it was “excited” to resume testing in their hometown.

TechwireAsia notes that the company’s driverless vehicles program had been kept on the down-low since 2018 after one of its self-driving XC90s struck Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona. The accident resulted in the first recorded case of a pedestrian fatality involving an autonomous car.

Photo: Uber