Spare a thought for Uber’s driverless cars, which are apparently getting mercilessly bullied by pedestrians and other drivers while out on the road.
That’s according to Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber’s self-driving car unit Advanced Technologies Group. Speaking at the Elevate conference in Washington DC on Wednesday, he said cameras mounted on the vehicles are capturing the hostility.
“We’ve seen people bully these cars. They feel like they can be more aggressive because we won’t take a position on it, or we’ll allow it,” said Meyhofer, according to The Daily Telegraph.
“You’re on video but still people do bully them and that’s a fascinating thing to see where people are testing the boundaries of what they can do to self-driving,” he added.
According to Meyhofer, the bullying comes from both pedestrians and other road users. It takes the form of rude gestures and utterances, challenging the cars to brake, driving up close behind them, and tending not to give the cars right of way at junctions. Meyhofer called the behaviour “mean-spirited.”
This isn’t the first time human hostility towards autonomous vehicles has been documented. Arizona Republic reported last year that people were slashing the tires of vehicles owned by Waymo, Google’s self-driving car venture. Guns were also pulled on safety drivers, it was reported.