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Uber Takes Initiative to Make Self-Driving Cars Safer

Uber hires “mission specialists” in an effort to make their autonomous vehicles even more safe.

Brandon Walker

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Uber will be firing 100 of their vehicle operators and replacing them with 55 “mission specialists” in order to enhance the safety of their autonomous vehicles, CNN reported. These mission specialists will have more technical training, which will help Uber become more efficient.

This step comes after there was a collision with an Uber vehicle that resulted in the death of a pedestrian back in March.

CNN said the “roughly 100 vehicle operators learned about the changes, first reported by Quartz, on Wednesday,” and the decision “has encouraged them to apply for the new positions, and some already have done so. The company wants to fill the new jobs as quickly as possible.”

Vehicle operator previously worked only on public roads, as opposed to the mission specialists who will be working on both roads and tracks. In this way, the program should be more efficient developers will receive the appropriate feedback needed to reach their safety goals.

“Hopefully they will have learned that safety really needs to be a much bigger emphasis,” said Sam Abuelsamid, a research analyst at Navigant Research. “…I would expect its probably going to be at least a couple more months, if not longer, to resume operations.”

An Uber spokeswoman did confirm the timeline in the next months while maintaining that Uber “remains committed to building safe self-driving technology, and we look forward to returning to public roads…”

To further improve safety, Uber took other steps, such as hiring National Transportation Safety Board chairman Christopher Hart as an adviser. The company also completed a safety review where they were recommended for 16 improvements to be taken into effect.

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Brandon Walker is a junior finance major at Temple University. He is a committed writer and jazz pianist. Brandon has written for The Temple News and is interested in a career in business and communications. He can be reached at brandon.walker@temple.edu.

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