Uber's road to self-driving cars is looking rocky. New internal documents show the ride-hailing service saw an increase in the number of miles autonomous cars were driving, but rider experience had slower progress, according to Recode.

Rider experience is defined as the combination of how smoothly the vehicle operates and how many times the driver has to take control. For the week ending March 8, Uber's autonomous cars drove an average of close to 0.8 miles before a safety driver had to take over. These takeovers can include "critical" interventions, when the driver must avoid injury, or "bad experiences," like hard breaks or jerky movements.

That week, Uber had 43 active autonomous cars, which drove 20,354 miles. Despite these statistics, it still lags behind Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving car company. It doesn't help that Uber is also in the thick of a lawsuit with its competition.

In February, Waymo sued Uber and claimed its former employee Anthony Levandowski downloaded 14,000 confidential files before leaving the company and launching the self-driving truck startup Otto. Uber acquired Otto last August and made Levandowski the point person for autonomous efforts.

"I would be very surprised if there wasn't a full criminal investigation behind this," Chris Swecker, a former assistant FBI director and now an attorney specializing in corporate espionage and cybercrime, told Wired Magazine in February.

Published on: Mar 17, 2017