Uber hires former NHTSA official as it seeks to shore up its safety record

December 4, 2018

Uber, still in recovery mode after a deadly self-driving car crash this past March, has hired a former NHTSA official as it prepares to restart its autonomous car operations.

CNBC reported Monday that Nat Beuse has joined the company. He's the latest government official to enter the private sector as companies work to commercialize self-driving cars and associated services.

"It’s clear to me that the team here is dedicated to prioritizing safety," he said in a statement.

CHECK OUT: Uber ready to restart self-driving car tests

Beuse was a long-time official at the agency who oversaw vehicle safety research. His expertise is a definite win for the ride-sharing company that has big plans to infiltrate numerous sectors of the budding "mobility" sector. Uber has asked Pennsylvania—one state that hosts the company's self-driving car operations—for permission to roll out its autonomous cars again for testing. However, the company has not received the OK thus far. Arizona barred the company from testing its self-driving cars after the fatal crash in the city of Tempe.

READ THIS: IIHS faults Uber for deactivating Volvo's automatic emergency braking in fatal crash

The Uber self-driving car prototype failed to stop for a pedestrian that crossed outside of a crosswalk. The backup safety driver was also streaming television on her smartphone at the time of the impact. It was the first self-driving car crash that resulted in the death of a human.

Many factors contributed to the crash, including Uber's on downfalls such as the actions it took to disable the self-driving car's standard automatic emergency braking system. The company had also removed the second backup driver from the prototype self-driving car months prior. When Uber does restart its autonomous car program, it plans to once again have two humans in the vehicle.

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