Uber halts self-driving vehicle tests after death

Self-Driving Uber Car Crashes In Arizona — Kills Pedestrian

Self-Driving Uber Car Crashes In Arizona — Kills Pedestrian

On Sunday, the American company saw its dreams of introducing driverless vehicles shattered when one of its "autonomous" SUVs knocked off a woman pedestrian in Tempe near Phoenix in Arizona.

In testimony before a U.S. Senate panel on Tuesday, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Heidi King declined to offer preliminary views on the cause of the Uber self-driving vehicle accident or directly answer whether she thought the incident was a "red flag" in advancing self-driving cars.

To be clear, there was a human driver behind the wheel, though the self-driving Volvo SUV was in full autonomous mode when the accident happened.

Victim: Elaine Herzberg, 49, was killed when she was hit by the Uber on Sunday night. After the incident, the ride-hailing service firm halted all the trials of its self-driving vehicles in cities including San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, and Toronto.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi expressed his condolences for Herzberg and her family on Twitter shortly after the incident took place. Once the investigation concludes, the case will be referred to the Maricopa County attorney, who will determine whether to bring charges.

According to preliminary investigations, the incident in Arizona would have been hard to avoid even if the vehicle was being driven manually. Safety advocates have called for a national moratorium on the testing of all so-called robot cars on public roads.

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The NTSB published a news release on Monday saying the probe would "address the vehicle's interaction with the environment, other vehicles, and vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and bicyclists".

I would guess the difference may be that Apple's testing may be limited to California compared to Tesla and Uber testing in other states as well, but the comparison is striking considering Apple has been generally quiet on its plans for self-driving auto testing. Still, many researchers believe that more self-driving cars will ultimately be safer than their human counterparts - and they may be right. A self-driving vehicle from Uber killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. Last year, Uber suspended the program in state after a different accident, one that did not involve any fatalities.

The technology has widely been seen as almost ready for primetime despite earlier incidents, such as the death of a Tesla driver who was relying on the system's Autopilot system before he got decapitated running under a semi-truck on a Florida highway.

In the UK, Gatwick Airport is planning to test self-driving shuttle buses this summer.

"The safety of autonomous technology is not proven, and there are many unanswered questions about how "driverless" technology is supposed to operate", the Teamsters said.

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