Uber Self-Driving Car Strikes and Kills Arizona Woman
20 March, 2018, 04:45 | Author: Jason Torres
Newsy's partner KNXV in Arizona reports an SUV hit a woman as she was walking outside a crosswalk early Monday morning. Despite being rushed to hospital, she later died from her injuries.
Reports indicate the Uber auto was in autonomous mode with a human safety driver present behind the wheel when the victim, identified by Tempepolice as 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, was struck while crossing the street outside of a crosswalk around 10 p.m. Sunday. No passengers were inside.
Following a fatal accident in Tempe, Arizona, Uber has suspended all self-driving tests on public roads across North America.
Uber said Monday it has paused its testing of autonomous cars, including in Toronto, after a pedestrian fatality overnight in Tempe, Ariz.
The death of a pedestrian at the hands of a self-driving auto will no doubt cause some backlash, but even with a fatality now on the record books, supporters will argue that autonomous vehicles are not statistically more unsafe than human drivers.
In a tweet, Uber expressed its condolences and said the company was fully cooperating with authorities.
"The investigation will address the vehicle's interaction with the environment, other vehicles and vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and bicyclists", the NTSB said in a statement, adding that its team will look into vehicle factors, human performance and electronic recorders.
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"You don't need to wear a belt and suspenders and whatever else, things that don't apply, if you're wearing a dress", Uber executive and engineer Anthony Levandowski (who has since left the company) told reporters at the time.
Last night's fatal accident accentuates regulatory questions that have accompanied discussion of self-driving cars since technology companies first began development of driverless vehicles. "We're enforcing the traffic laws for everyone, whether it's autonomous or regular, law-abiding citizens".
Last year, Uber announced it was buying 24,000 Volvo XC90s, as it moved to grow its fleet of autonomous SUVs, from 2019. The auto was in its autonomous driving mode at the time of the accident, though a human was also behind the wheel.
Arizona is a hotbed of self-driving auto development.
In a statement, the NHTSA said it is "in contact with Uber, Volvo, federal, state and local authorities regarding the incident" and will take appropriate action.
"Moreover, there are no standards to test the capacity of an autonomous vehicle to "see" various objects on the streets or highways or any to ensure that drivers of level 2 and 3 AVs are not distracted and unable to take control of the vehicle when necessary", the alliance's letter states. Alphabet's Waymo and General Motors have both been testing in the Phoenix area due to its friendly stance towards self-driving vehicles. Uber claims to have tested its AVs through 2 million miles of real-world driving.
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