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Uber suspends autonomous vehicle testing after XC90 flip

Ride-sharing service Uber has been conducting trials of self-driving technologies thanks to a partnership with carmaker Volvo.

Uber has put a stop to all of its driverless car testing in the United States following an incident in Tempe, Arizona yesterday, which occurred when the Volvo XC90 development mule was in self-driving mode.

A regular vehicle was to blame for the three car crash that left the autonomous Uber flipped on its side, while reportedly no-one involved in the collision was seriously injured.

However, the popular ride-sharing service moved quickly to suspend any further Phoenix-based trials, as well as those being undertaken in Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

Driverless testing in Arizona will remain grounded for the duration of the investigation into the accident, but trials in the other two states may recommence earlier.

Pittsburgh and Phoenix Uber each employ 12 self-driving vehicles for assessment on local roads, while the San Francisco arm has redeployed only two mules this month after disputes with local regulators.

Issues initially arose after an autonomous XC90 was allegedly found to be running red lights in the Bay Area, but the firm claimed the driver involved was responsible for the misdemeanours and had been suspended.

Each test car involved in the driverless program includes a human occupant that sits in the driver's seat and is at the ready in case a situation occurs where they need to take over.

Volvo and Uber announced their alliance in August last year as the Swedish brand endeavoured to further its vision for a self-driving vehicle by partnering with the tech company for its expertise in the area.

The next-generation model will be built on the car-maker's modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform, which currently underpins its XC90 SUV, S90 sedan and V90 wagon.

Funding for the project – which has a budget of $US300 million ($A405m) – has been provided by a joint investment from Uber and Volvo.

Would you be willing to grab a lift with a driverless vehicle in the future? Tell us what you think in the comments below.