Consumer Advocates Ask Uber For More Transparency

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California-based advocacy group Consumer Watchdog publicly asked Uber to release test data surrounding its autonomous vehicle program and called on the mobility giant to go on-record regarding its plans to address several challenges currently faced by driverless technology.

Consumer Watchdog believes Uber's choice to abandon its pilot program in California and move to Arizona was (at least in part) motivated by a desire to keep information about its efforts out of the public eye.

"Consumer Watchdog believes you opted to pick up your toys and move because you wanted to keep important information about your robot car testing secret," said John M. Simpson, the organization's privacy project director.

"We would welcome your proving our conclusion to be incorrect, by making public important information about your robot car activities. Using public highways as your laboratory carries the obligation of telling the public what you are doing."

If Uber had filed for a permit in California (as state regulators had insisted), a great deal of information about its test program would have become public record.

The advocacy group also called on Uber to answer several questions regarding the sophistication of its autonomous vehicles' artificial intelligence systems, the security of vehicle controls, and its timeline for implementation of completely driverless systems.

"Consumer Watchdog hopes you will prove our conclusion about your motives incorrect and start providing monthly reports about your robot car testing activity including miles driven, crashes and disengagements," Simpson said.

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