Uber Technologies believes it will take a long time for self-driving cars to dominate roads.
Chief scientist at the company’s self-driving unit said it will not bow to pressure, adding the technology will help save lives.
Raquel Urtasun who leads the Group’s unit in Toronto made this known at an event in New York.
It is very sad and very unfortunate what happened, and we have really introspect everything that we do, and not just about this particular accident but to make sure that we held ourselves accountable to the highest standard of safety and that we lead actually safety within the industry.
“There are a few challenges, but definitely we will see self driving cars going on highways, as well as going within the city. And it has different difficulties, whether it is cities versus highways. Cities, there is a lot of people there, and people do a lot of things that you don’t expect,” she said.
The progress of Uber’s self-driving car unit has hit the spotlight as the company prepares to go public later this year.
Some consider Uber’s ability to successfully navigate the transition to autonomous vehicles as crucial to the company’s long-term prospects.
Last year, the company announced it would invest millions of dollars in Toronto to expand its self-driving car operations.
“I think there will be announcements coming from the company, but right now we don’t have anything yet to announce. But, when we feel ready we will go back to the other cities. But what is very important for us is that we don’t rush because of the pressure, and we have received a lot of pressure. Because we took the fleet out, everybody said Uber is doomed, and it is not the case because we actually developed a lot of things in the lab with offline testing,” Raquel Urtasun noted.
Uber had been seen as a leader in the technology until one if its autonomous SUVs killed a pedestrian in Arizona in March 2018.
The company then removed its robot cars from the road, laid off hundreds of test drivers and shuttered operations in Arizona, its autonomous testing hub. It resumed testing its cars on public roads in December.
“It is very sad and very unfortunate what happened, and we have really introspect everything that we do, and not just about this particular accident but to make sure that we held ourselves accountable to the highest standard of safety and that we lead actually safety within the industry.”
A group of investors are in talks to invest $1 billion or more into Uber’s self-driving vehicle unit.
Uber, last valued at $76 billion in the private market, is seeking a valuation as high as $120 billion in its IPO and may kick off its investor roadshow before the end of April.