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Uber restarts self-driving car tests after Arizona crash

A collision between one of the company's robocars and a human-driven vehicle prompted a brief pause of Uber's autonomous program.

​A clutch of Uber robocars in San Francisco in December, before state regulators cracked down on the program.
A group of Uber robocars in San Francisco in December. One of the company's self-driving cars in Arizona was involved in a collision last night.
James Martin/CNET

The wild ride continues for Uber's robocar program.

The ride-hailing company's autonomous vehicles are back on the road in San Francisco on Monday, and will get going again in Pittsburgh and in Tempe, Arizona, later today, said an Uber spokesperson.

The programs were briefly halted after one of Uber's self-driving vehicles wound up on its side Friday night after a collision with another car in Tempe. No one was seriously hurt in the crash, the company said on Saturday, adding that the Uber car was in self-driving mode and that there were two ride-along backup drivers in the front seats but no other passengers.

Uber had no comment as to which car was at fault, saying its investigation into the incident is ongoing. According to a Bloomberg report, police said the Uber car wasn't to blame, but that the other vehicle failed to yield. Police in Tempe didn't respond to a request for comment.

The crash is the latest bump in the road for Uber's fleet of robocars. When the company rolled out the vehicles in San Francisco in December, without first getting a permit, one of the cars was captured on video running a red light.

California regulators subsequently yanked registration on the cars, at which point Uber moved the program to Arizona. After negotiations with California officials, some of the cars got the OK to return to SF streets for testing, but without any passengers aside from backup drivers. Backup drivers may not be required in the future.

News outlets Fresco News and ABC15 Arizona tweeted photos they said show the Tempe collision's aftermath. The self-driving sensor rig atop the Uber car appears to be visible in the Fresco News images.

First published March 25, 1:06 p.m. PT.
Update, March 27 at 12:55 p.m. PT: Adds comment from Uber on restart of self-driving car tests.

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