Uber's self-driving auto tests aren't going as well as planned

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The documents obtained by Recode show that during the week ending on March 8, Uber's autonomous vehicles, like most new drivers, went just 2 miles on average between hard stops and "abrupt auto jerks".

To be fair, Uber's leaders themselves have acknowledged the cars aren't almost ready to operate on their own - after all, that was the company's main argument as to why it shouldn't have to apply for a state permit to test the cars in California.

Uber's fleet of self-driving prototype vehicles is reportedly making slow progress toward achieving true autonomous operation without requiring frequent human intervention. For the week of March 8, when dividing the total number of miles driven by the vehicles by the number of times that the driver needed to take over, it was seen that the human driver had to take control once every 0.8 miles, which is far from an ideal figure.

At the end of January, that distance was 125 miles but it fell to 50 miles in the first week of February. Uber's cars are driving more and more miles each week too, so while this data may not be showing much in the way of improvement, it's also good that we aren't seeing much of a decline either. As you can imagine, critical inventions are quite a bit more serious than taking over to correct a missed turn or perform a lane change - they're made to avoid hitting a pedestrian or avoid collisions that would cause significant property damage.

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The human had to stop the vehicle from hitting pedestrians or property - or to better control jerky steering or hard braking that made customers uncomfortable, the Uber data revealed. They drove themselves for about 18,000 miles a week last month, up from about 5,000 miles a week in January (when the company had about 20 vehicles on the road, mainly in Pittsburgh).

At the same time, the fleet still has "bad experiences", which characterize events like jerky driving, hard braking, or whatever else someone would consider uncomfortable driving. However, documents that indicate the situation have been leaked online. In any case, be sure to check out the source link below to read Recode's full report.

Still, this probably isn't what Uber had in mind when it set out to test self-driving technology in real world scenarios.