Self-driving vehicles

Photo: Was another self-driving Uber involved in a fender bender?

The ride-sharing service is looking into it.

Danielle Greaves
MJ Slaby

Updated 12:18 a.m. Oct. 20

Uber is looking into a Tuesday incident involving a self-driving car, the company confirmed Wednesday.

Danielle Greaves, who works Downtown, spotted this around 4 p.m. Tuesday near Coffey Way and Sixth Avenue, and tweeted:

Uber spokesman Craig Ewer told The Incline that the company was notified of the incident and is looking into it, but couldn’t provide additional details about what happened or if the car was in autonomous mode during the incident.

He said it’s a team effort among Uber staff to report incidents to the company.

City police were not notified, public safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler said.

There have been no reportable crashes to date, said Emily Schaffer, public safety spokeswoman. Collisions are often reported to police only if there is a physical injury or damage to a vehicle.

“If there are things happening out there, they aren’t calling us,” she said. “… If there is any type of incident, and you’re unsure if you should call police, call 911.”

Scott Schubert, assistant chief for the Pittsburgh police, said it’s the responsibility of the person sitting behind the wheel of the self-driving car to either report a crash to police or to exchange information with the other driver.

He said the police can’t ask people to report every incident with the self-driving cars.

Uber rolled out self-driving cars to the public last month and offers the rides only to users who opt into the pilot program. The self-driving cars have both a safety driver (who can take over the car and manually drive if needed) and an Uber engineer (who is armed with a laptop to collect data) in the front seats.

Earlier this month, Quartz reported that a self-driving Uber turned the wrong way on one-way Atwood Street in Oakland on Sept. 26 and noted the fleet’s first collision.

Uber said it was aware that another car had tapped the fender of one of its self-driving Fords on the night of Sept. 24. The company said that was the only incident it had heard of involving one of its self-driving cars in Pittsburgh and that it was reported as the “lowest level”; it didn’t specify whether the car was in autonomous mode at the time.

Ewer told The Incline on Wednesday that the car was in manual mode, not autonomous mode during the September incident. He added that he wasn’t aware of any other incidents.

Want some more? Explore other Self-driving vehicles stories.

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