Uber suspends self-driving operations after vehicle hits, kills pedestrian in Arizona

Lloyd Doyle
March 20, 2018

Soon after the accident, Uber has suspended the testing of autonomous cars in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto.

Are Self-Driven Vehicles Safe Enough?

The ride-sharing company has been testing self-driving vehicles for months as it competes with other technology companies and automakers like Ford and General Motors. Nonetheless, the industry's accumulated real-world experience falls far short of 100m miles - a symbolic milestone many developers of self-driving cars were quietly hoping would have been reached before any fatalities.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which makes recommendations for preventing crashes, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which can enact regulations, sent investigators. "We should be terrified about human driving".

It will fall to the county attorney's office in Maricopa, Arizona, to determine who was at fault and whether to press charges against Uber or its driver. Promising to keep oversight light, they invited the companies to test their robotic vehicles on the state's roads.

The public's image of the vehicles will be defined by stories like the crash in Tempe, said Bryant Walker Smith, a University of SC law professor who studies self-driving vehicles. California's Department of Motor Vehicles, which oversees autonomous testing in Uber's home state, is also seeking information from the company about what happened. "It will set consumer confidence in the technology back years, if not decades". Hundreds of vehicles with automated driving systems have been on Arizona's roads. Late last year, Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo, which has tested in the Phoenix area for years, began removing the safety drivers to transport a small number of residents, though Waymo staff members sit in the back seat.


Swedish vehicle company Volvo stated the software controlling the auto in the crash was not its own. The vehicle was operating in autonomous mode under the supervision of a driver.

The report states that the self-driving Volvo XC90 couldn't alter its speed and direction when a lady suddenly came in front of the vehicle.

"Tempe has been supportive of autonomous vehicle testing because of the innovation and promise the technology may offer", Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said in a statement on Monday.

Crashes have occurred before involving autonomous cars like the Google autonomous auto incident of 2016, Uber's autonomous vehicle again which crashed into a different auto and flipped to the side, there were no injuries though.

"Arizona has been the Wild West of robot vehicle testing with virtually no regulations in place", he says. Instead, it'll likely reinforce pre-existing beliefs about the technology.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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