Uber says its self-driving cars could return in ‘next few months’

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi spoke briefly of what’s been going on in the world of Uber’s self-driving cars in light of the fatal accident in Tempe, Arizona in March. At Uber Elevate today in Los Angeles, Khosrowshahi said Uber will bring back its self-driving cars “within the next few months, I don’t know.”

To be fair, Khosrowshahi didn’t sound 100 percent confident in his answer. That’s just to say I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes Uber longer than a few months.

He went on to say that when Uber does bring its cars back on the road, “it’s going to be in as safe of a way as possible.”

Uber pulled its self-driving cars off the roads following the March fatal crash. Later that month, Uber decided not to reapply for a self-driving car testing permit in California. Uber’s previous permit expired March 31.

If Uber wants to continue its tests in California, it will need to apply for a new permit, as well as “address any follow-up analysis or investigations from the recent crash in Arizona,” DMV Deputy Director/Chief Counsel Brian Soublet wrote in a letter to Uber in March. Uber may also need to set up a meeting with the DMV.

In response to a question about how the investigation is going with the National Transportation Safety Board, Khosrowshahi said it’s ongoing. Unlike Tesla being quite vocal about the fatal crash involving its Autopilot system, and damaging its relationship with the NTSB, Khosrowshahi said, “We will not be tweeting ahead of their findings.”

But that doesn’t mean there won’t be leaks. Earlier this week, The Information reported Uber’s software was at fault. Specifically, it was reportedly the fault of the software that determines which objects to ignore and which to attend to.

Following the report, Uber said it’s actively cooperating with the NTSB and can’t comment on the specifics of the accident.

“In the meantime, we have initiated a top-to-bottom safety review of our self-driving vehicles program, and we have brought on former NTSB Chair Christopher Hart to advise us on our overall safety culture,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement at the time. “Our review is looking at everything from the safety of our system to our training processes for vehicle operators, and we hope to have more to say soon.”