UA professor talks self-driving car crash

Updated: Mar. 27, 2017 at 4:52 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Uber self-driving car program is back up and running in Arizona. This comes three days after a crash involving one of their self-driving cars.

According to the Tempe Police Department, the self-driving car was heading south on McClintock Drive in Tempe. Another car failed to yield, while turning left. Police say, the cars collided and the self-driving car rolled onto its side.

There were no serious injuries, however following the crash, Uber said they suspended the pilot program in Arizona, San Francisco and Pittsburgh for driver-less cars.

On Monday Tucson News Now sat down with John M. Leonis Distinguished Associate Professor Jonathan Sprinkle, from the University of Arizona. During the summer he runs a program with engineering and computer science students from across the county.

The students have a goal of creating a program for a driver-less car. At the end of the summer, they put their work to the test, programming the Cognitive and Autonomous Test or CAT car.

Sprinkle says, there could be other crashes involving driver-less cars. "As we see more and more self-driving cars on the road, there's a higher likelihood of a crash."

Some of the blame could be put on human drivers, as they can be a little unpredictable behind the wheel.

The Arizona associate professor did say, Uber made the right call by shutting down the program.

"To make sure that the behavior that they're modeling for the rest of the autonomous car industry is correct," said Sprinkle.

Copyright 2017 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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