Uber, the transportation-on-demand behemoth, courted controversy this past week when it started to test its self-driving cars on public roads in San Francisco without the state’s permission.
Today, Uber drew even more heat, as bike advocates warned that the test vehicles have a so-called “right hook” turning problem, which can put cyclists at grave risk.
In this scenario, when a vehicle turns right from its lane, it can potentially cut off a cyclist at a corner, rather than merging into the bike lane before safely completing a right turn.
The San Francisco Bike Coalition said this is one of the main causes for bike-car collisions, a fact that it had pointed out when consulting on videos for Uber earlier this year.
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The Guardian reported that Uber is aware of the problem, but has continued to keep its self-driving vehicles in circulation. As a stop-gap measure, the company has reportedly instructed human drivers to take over when they approach a right turn on a street with a bike lane.
Before the “right hook” issue became widely reported, California Attorney General Kamala Harris — who is also Senator-elect for California — called for Uber’s tests to stop until the company attains a special permit from the DMV to proceed.
Uber is a founding member of the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets.
Source: Techcrunch .com