Video Shows a Self-Driving Uber Running a Red Light
The traffic violation took place in San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood.
Autonomous car technology is very complicated, and it’s astounding to see how much progress so many different companies have made at making what was once the realm of science fiction closer to reality. That being said, here is a video that shows a self-driving Uber straight-up blowing a red light in downtown San Francisco on the very day the company launched the service.
The video was captured by a dashboard camera in a taxi owned by Luxor Cab on Wednesday morning, The San Francisco Examiner reports. In it, we see a group of cars approach a yellow light on Fourth Street right nearby the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. A group of cars flies through, and the last one of them drives into the intersection the moment the light turns red. Then, almost comically, an Uber with a distinctive camera rig on the roof rolls through about three seconds later. The light is extremely red at that point.
An Uber rep tells Inverse the driver of the car — it wasn’t driving autonomously — has been suspended. Here’s the full statement from Uber:
This incident was due to human error. This is why we believe so much in making the roads safer by building self-driving Ubers. This vehicle was not part of the pilot and was not carrying customers. The driver involved has been suspended while we continue to investigate.
Uber had just launched its self-driving car program earlier that day, though regulators say the company doesn’t have the necessary permits to operate driverless cars in the state. Uber disagrees, claiming that since there is a person present in the front seat, and the car can’t drive without them being there, it’s technically okay.
Of course, this begs the question of why the person in the front seat of the rogue Uber didn’t do anything to stop the car from running the red light?
Uber piloted its self-driving program in Pittsburgh earlier this year before kicking off in earnest (and possibly a little prematurely) on Wednesday in San Francisco. This, if reports are to be believed, wasn’t even the only self-driving mishap that happened on day one. Journalist Annie Gaus tweeted that she had nearly been hit by one of the autonomous cars.
Of course, since Gaus was riding in a Lyft, Uber’s chief competitor, there’s a tiny chance that this was a feature, not a bug.