close
Trending Automotive News

Uber’s Brief Suspension Ends After Tempe Crash

shutterstock_326732741

Back in December 2016, Governor Doug Ducey announced that Uber would move its self-driving vehicle program to Arizona. Fast-forward four months, and the program has already been briefly suspended.

Take a look at the major milestones during Uber’s time in Arizona to better understand the progress Uber has made, and what their unknown future may hold.

December 2016

After operating briefly in San Francisco, Uber’s self-driving vehicles were told to leave California due to safety concerns. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, state legislators believed Uber needed specific permits to operate self-driving cars. Uber, however, disagreed, stating that the permit should not apply to their vehicles since they have someone behind the wheel of the car at all times.

After much back and forth, Uber decided to pull out of California, and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey welcomed Uber’s program with open arms, looking to name Arizona as an innovative state for technological advances.

“We think it’s going to provide jobs for Arizonans, and ultimately we think our streets are going to be much safer for our citizens and for our teenagers who are driving,” Ducey said at the time.

February 2017

While the announcement of Uber’s move to Arizona took place in December, the program wasn’t up and running until late February. Branded vehicles began making their way into the state earlier in the year, but were not accepting passengers.

On February 21, 2017, Uber officially began operating its self-driving pilot program in Tempe, with Ducey taking the first passenger ride. From that point on, any rider requesting an UberX could be paired with a self-driving Uber if one was available in the area. Passengers were permitted to decline to ride in one and request a different car, though.

According to Ducey, his initial ride was both smooth and safe, despite encountering many motorcyclists, bike riders, and pedestrians around Arizona State University.

March 2017

While the program appeared to be running more smoothly in its second month of operation in the Valley, a report released by Recode revealed that while the number of autonomous miles driven by the Uber vehicles had increased, the overall technology was showing little progress.

In fact, in one week alone, the driverless vehicles drove 20,354 miles, and human intervention was required for every single one of those miles. This means that the human sitting behind the wheel of the car had to take over each mile the car was in operation. Even more concerning, this number increased from the number of times human intervention was required in previous months.

Uber has yet to comment publicly on the report, or release its self-driving miles and disengagements.

This same month, Uber also launched another program in Phoenix. This pilot program would allow drivers to pick up teens between the ages of 13 and 17 as long as they are linked to their parents’ account.

Once picked up, parents are able to follow the ride on a live map, get updates during the trip, have access to the driver’s name, photo and vehicle details, and contact the driver if need be.

Brief Suspension

On Friday, March 24, a self-driving Uber vehicle was involved in their first accident in Tempe. A car failed to yield to the autonomous vehicle and hit it, causing the self-driving SUV to roll onto its side.

While no one was injured in the accident, there was a passenger in the vehicle. It is also not known at this time if the person behind the wheel of the car was controlling the SUV or if it was in the autonomous mode.

This accident caused Uber to suspend its driving program on Saturday, March 25, giving the company time to look into the incident further. However, by Monday, March 27, Uber had completed their investigation, and their entire vehicle fleet was back up and running on the road.

What’s Next?

Despite the setbacks, it appears that Uber will continue testing their vehicles in Arizona and Pittsburgh, where the program is also being tested. Additionally, after securing the proper permits, Uber can now legally operate their self-driving vehicles in California. However, passengers will not be allowed in the backseat immediately.

Unlike in Arizona, Uber will be one of 26 companies currently testing autonomous vehicles in California.

While the future of autonomous vehicles in general is unknown, it’s clear that Uber is remaining committed to their program, and looking to expand other pilot programs in the Valley.

read more
Auto BodyAuto Repair

U.S. Drivers Lack Trust in Auto Shops

shutterstock_584112910

Bad news for auto repair and collision centers around the U.S.—it seems most U.S. drivers don’t trust you. According to a study done by AAA in late 2016, two out of three U.S. drivers do not trust auto repair shops in general.

While the study was focusing specifically on the auto repair industry, industry experts were quick to point out that the majority of drivers don’t know the difference between auto repair and auto body, and the statistic could be applying to both.

While insurers reimburse at least 70 percent of auto body business, general mechanical labor is predominantly out-of-pocket by the motorist. This could be why AAA focused its study on the auto repair side of the industry specifically, versus both auto repair and auto body.

AAA said the reasons for the mistrust broke down like this:

  • 76 percent: recommending unnecessary service
  • 73 percent- overcharging
  • 63 percent- negative past experiences
  • 49 percent- concerns that the work will not be done correctly

Despite those negative statistics, the study also found that 64 percent of U.S. drivers have singled out an auto repair shop they actually do trust. So what can repair shop owners do to change that relationship? Below we’ve listed out a few ways to begin rebuilding trust:

  1. Know your current customers and where to find new ones.
    According to AAA, baby boomers are twice as likely than younger generations to fully trust auto repair facilities in general, with one-in-five reporting they “totally trust the industry.” When you break it down statistically, 76 percent of Baby Boomers have selected an auto repair shop they trust, versus just 55 percent of Millennials and 56 percent of Gen-Xers.

    It’s crucial for shop owners to continue to invest in their older, loyal customer base. However, they must also be willing to branch out into social media and review-based platforms to connect with younger customers. Word of mouth is no longer enough. Millennials and Gen-Xers want to find their businesses where they spend most of their time—on the Internet.

  1. Join a review platform and urge customers to leave feedback.
    With the level of mistrust found in relationships between driver and auto repair shops, it’s imperative that shops have a presence on a review platform. With com, each review is validated with a repair order, making it impossible for fake reviews to spam your account.

    These validated reviews give peace of mind to both the business owner and the driver. They know they are reading real reviews from real people, and can then make an educated decision on where to take their vehicle. With 78 percent of customers turning to a review site to find a business, this is a step that cannot be overlooked.

  1. Be mindful of your digital presence throughout the Web.
    While managing your reputation by joining a review platform is a great first step, your reputation can be made or broken in other areas of the web, too. Making sure you’re aware of what is being said about your business all over the Internet is a must.

    Take Yelp, for example. A recent poll on Repairer Driven News found that most auto body shop owners either looked at their Yelp page just “once in a while” or never at all. Whether you’re allowing positive feedback to go unnoticed, or negative feedback, whether true or false, to start gaining traction, you’re only hurting your business by not paying attention to what’s being said about you online.

With so much information at customers’ fingertips, it is easier than ever for them to decide what shops can and cannot be trusted, and where to take their business. In order to begin repairing the relationship between customer and shop owners, the industry leaders must begin to invest in their online reputation, and provide peace of mind to their current and potential customer base.

read more
1 2 3 4 5 6 10
Page 4 of 10