Uber Picks Up Former Top Gov’t Official To Help With Safety Following Fatal Self-Driving Car Accident

[FRESCO NEWS/Mark Beach/Handout via REUTERS]

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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Uber announced Monday that it has picked up Christopher Hart, the most recent former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), as a self-driving vehicle safety advisor.

“We have initiated a top-to-bottom safety review of our self-driving vehicles program, and we have brought on former NTSB Chair Christopher Hart to advise us on our overall safety culture,” the ride-sharing giant said in a statement, according to Reuters. “Our review is looking at everything from the safety of our system to our training processes for vehicle operators, and we hope to have more to say soon.”

The disclosure comes on the same day The Information, a fast-growing tech publication, reported that a fatal accident involving one of Uber’s driverless cars was primarily due to faulty software. The advanced autonomous technology allegedly detected the pedestrian encroaching into the traffic lane, but somehow determined that it wasn’t an object that needed an immediate reaction.

The 49-year-old woman who was hit died from her injuries March 18 in Arizona, sparking concerns of the fast-growing and fast-approaching technological prospect of self-driving vehicles on the road. The NTSB in which Hart was a part of until August of 2017 is investigating the collision, as the independent government agency is tasked with launching probes for civil transportation accidents.

But the race to be first in having an available and legal self-driving car for consumers is picking up regardless of any woes that Uber (and others) may be specifically having. Several firms from various industries are investing millions to bring the bevy of likely benefits to fruition.

The appointment of Hart may help Uber pick up the pace, and regain the trust of regulators and potential customers alike.

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Eric Lieberman