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Uber: ‘Aggressive’ drivers are bullying our self-driving cars

Uber: ‘Aggressive’ drivers are bullying our self-driving cars

People are being mean to self-driving vehicles, says Uber’s Eric Meyhofer “Aggressive” drivers and pedestrians are bullying self-driving vehicles, according to Uber advanced technologies group head Eric Meyhofer. The company has even recorded people hurling abuse at its autonomous vehicles, according to Meyhofer. Meyhofer was speaking at Uber’s Elevate conference in Washington DC. “We’ve seen people bully

Uber: 'Aggressive' drivers are bullying our self-driving cars

People are being mean to self-driving vehicles, says Uber’s Eric Meyhofer

“Aggressive” drivers and pedestrians are bullying self-driving vehicles, according to Uber advanced technologies group head Eric Meyhofer. The company has even recorded people hurling abuse at its autonomous vehicles, according to Meyhofer.

Meyhofer was speaking at Uber’s Elevate conference in Washington DC. “We’ve seen people bully these cars. They feel like they can be more aggressive because we won’t take a position on it, or we’ll allow it.”

Meyhofer added that the company had witnessed a range of “mean-spirited behaviours”, including rude gestures and verbal abuse.


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On some occasions, drivers failed to give the cars their right-of-way, tested their ability to break and drove close behind them. 

“You’re on video but still people do bully them, and that’s a fascinating thing to see where people are testing the boundaries of what they can do to self-driving,” said Meyhofer at the event, attended by The Telegraph

The company, which is currently testing autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania only recently re-opened its self-driving car division after a fatal incident last year.

In March 2018, video footage showed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg walking across a street at night time and being run over by one of Uber’s self-driving vehicles.

While questions were raised about the vehicle’s LIDAR detection systems it emerged that the emergency braking system had been disabled “to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behaviour”, but the system didn’t alert the vehicle’s human operator to apply the brakes either. 

The human operator, meanwhile, had reportedly been distracted.  

However, despite the accusations, prosecutors in Arizona dropped charges against the company in May 2018, although Uber halted self-driving car tests for nine months while it carried out its own investigations. 

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