This has conspiracy theory written all over it. Check out these paragraphs from this article:
Uber circulated a document asking engineers on the self-driving car team to think about "rider experience metrics." Engineers were encouraged to try to limit the number of "bad experiences" to one per ride.
Two days later, another email went out announcing that Uber was "turning off the car's ability to make emergency decisions on its own like slamming on the brakes or swerving hard."
Uber bosses insisted that this was a safety measure. If a self-driving car slammed on the brakes or swerved at the wrong time, it could startle and confuse other cars on the road, they claimed. Instead, their plan was to rely on safety drivers to intervene in situations where the car is about to make a mistake. Of course, disabling these emergency maneuvers could also improve the rider experience metrics.
"A few weeks later, they gave the car back more of its ability to swerve but did not return its ability to brake hard," Business Insider reports.
Hard braking was still disabled in March when Elaine Herzberg stepped into the Tempe roadway ahead of an Uber vehicle. According to the NTSB's report, "at 1.3 seconds before impact, the self-driving system determined that an emergency braking maneuver was needed to mitigate a collision." However, "emergency braking maneuvers" were "not enabled." Even worse, "the system is not designed to alert" the safety driver about an imminent collision.