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Uber receives the approval of Pennsylvania to resume self-driving test

FILE PHOTO: A man works with a self driving Volvo, bought by Uber, in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, December 1, 2017. REUTERS/Natalie Behring

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc. received approval from Pennsylvania resume self-driving car testing on public roads this week, state records show, nine months after it suspended the program after a fatal accident in Arizona.

A company spokeswoman said on Tuesday, Uber still has not resumed testing. In November, Uber said that it was seeking the consent of Pennsylvania to resume testing of more than seven months after a deadly self-driving crash in Arizona.

Uber said last month that when resume the test would do with two employees in the front passenger seat is an automatic braking system at all times, and more strictly monitor the safety of workers.

Reuters reported earlier this month that after the received approval from Pennsylvania, Uber plans to start driving “a handful” of cars on a mile loop between two company branches in Pittsburgh, where Uber first debuted the autonomous vehicles in 2016, company spokeswoman Sarah Abboud said.

The go-around is a dramatic downsizing of Uber’s previous operation. The company has in the past used its fleet in autonomous mode on public roads at high speeds, in the dark, in areas crowded with pedestrians and with a single backup driver to the passenger seat.

This time, the cars do not work at night or in bad weather, and will not exceed a speed of 25 km per hour, Abboud said. The company has no plans to resume picking up passengers in the robot cars, a service Uber launched in 2016.

In March, authorities in Arizona suspended Uber’s ability to test its self-driving cars after one of its cars hit and killed a woman crossing the street at night in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe, Uber’s biggest test hub. Uber also voluntarily stopped the entire autonomous car testing of the program.

Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Richard Chang

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