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The ministry is set to release regulations governing real-road tests of autonomous vehicles soon, which will allow them to apply for temporary registration plates for six to 12 months, Lee said.

Now comes a report suggesting the San Francisco firm - trying to reinvent itself after sexual harassment and leadership scandals - was under pressure to get its autonomous-driving ride-sharing program up and running for public use by the end of the year, while the cars were having trouble driving themselves safely and the company was reducing human backup.

Uber's driverless cars require human intervention once every 13 miles, according to company documents obtained by The New York Times.

"There are more unexpected traffic scenarios in Taiwan than in the USA, which is why we need to establish a more controlled environment for driverless cars", he said.

Are driverless cars safe?

The crash, which occurred Sunday night, was a major setback for Uber, which has been trying to improve its image since Khosrowshahi replaced Travis Kalanick as the company's chief executive in a messy transfer of power in August.

When Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi joined the company in August, he reportedly thought about shutting down its self-driving vehicle program, according to the Times.

Uber says miles per intervention isn't a measure of the overall safety of its autonomous vehicle testing operations, but rather a way to track the system's improvement. A 2017 study conducted by AAA shows three-quarters of USA drivers are afraid to ride in a self-driving auto and only 10 percent think they would make roads safer.

Uber crash prompts reflection on driverless auto development in Taiwan
Uber crash prompts reflection on driverless auto development in Taiwan

The footage also shows the backup driver in the SUV looking downward for several seconds before the crash. Hopefully, this isn't an inherent problem with self-driving technology and Uber discovers what went wrong.

Uber also planned to seek regulatory approval by December to start a commercial service using its autonomous vehicles, the Times reported, leading to "pressure to live up to a goal to offer a driverless auto service by the end of the year and to impress top executives". "We continue to assist investigators in any way we can". She later died in hospital, becoming the first person to be killed by an autonomous vehicle.

Waymo and Cruise, a self-driving auto company owned by GM, reported their "intervention" numbers to California regulators.

The Uber auto was in an autonomous mode when the accident happened. One shows the outside view while other shows the car's interior.

Uber's first road tests in its self-driving vehicle effort, code-named Project Roadrunner, were actually in Pittsburgh in September 2016. They wanted to take him on a ride without human interventions to demonstrate that the cars could handle so-called edge cases, tricky road situations that are hard to predict. Kallman, the Uber spokesman, said the second person was in the vehicle for purely data related tasks, not safety.

"Operating a driverless vehicle on a fixed route could reduce possible confusion for an artificial intelligence-driven auto because it takes time for its computing system to become adapted to a new environment", said 7Starlake Co.

Job boards are filled with listings for safety drivers.

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