Published: Wed, March 21, 2018

Uber Self-driving Car Kills Arizona Woman!

Uber Self-driving Car Kills Arizona Woman!

Full details are still forthcoming surrounding the death on Sunday night of pedestrian Elaine Herzberg after she was struck by Uber's test vehicle, a Volvo SC 90 sport utility vehicle, operating in autonomous mode.

Uber, Waymo and a long list of tech companies and automakers have begun to expand testing of their self-driving vehicles in cities around the country.

Meanwhile the National Transportation Safety Board in the U.S. tweeted that it is also investigating the crash.

The firm confirmed that the vehicle was traveling in autonomous mode with a safety driver, the only vehicle occupant, behind the wheel during the crash.

NPR reports that Uber has suspended all autonomous vehicle operations in Pittsburgh, Tempe, San Francisco and Toronto in response to the crash. The victim, identified as Eliane Herzberg, was hit by a Volvo XC90 owned by Uber which was undergoing trials for autonomous vehicles.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's office will decide if any laws were broken. The company has more than 100 autonomous cars testing on the roads of the greater Phoenix area, the company's prime testing ground due to the state's loose regulations and hospitable weather.

According to preliminary investigations, the incident in Arizona would have been hard to avoid even if the vehicle was being driven manually.

Toyota has been testing its self-driving cars on public roads in MI and California.

Who else is testing self-driving cars? Shanghai has regulations on road tests for such smart cars and has said it would promote the application and commercialization of vehicles using artificial intelligence technology and internet-linked functions, Xinhua reported. As the investigation continues, Uber has grounded its entire fleet of self-driving cars until further notice.

Rafaela Vasquez was behind the wheel of the autonomous auto owned by Uber and told the San Francisco Chronicle, "it was like a flash", when the victim abruptly stepped out from a center median in front of the vehicle. With the right testing and technology, self-driving cars could still join their ranks.

Concerns over the safety of autonomous vehicles flared after a July 2016 fatality involving a Tesla Inc automobile with a partially autonomous system that required human supervision. But this accident may cause regulators to clamp down on what has seemed like a headlong rush to ideal the technology by risking, to some extent, the safety of the public.

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

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