Uber has shuttered its self-driving testing program in Arizona and laid off close to 300 workers there — most of them test drivers, or “vehicle operators” — two months after one of its autonomous cars killed a pedestrian, the company said May 23. The company had been testing its self-driving technology in the state since 2016, but halted operations in the wake of the March crash.
In the time since it started testing there, pressure to beat other companies to market with a self-driving ride-hail service apparently led Uber to cut corners, according to multiple reports since the March crash. Uber scaled back the number of sensors it uses on its self-driving cars when it changed over from Ford Fusions to Volvo XC90s, according to The Guardian. The company also reduced the number of vehicle operators, or “safety drivers,” in each car from two to one, a move that some employees reportedly worried would increase risk, according to The New York Times.
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