Uber suspends self-driving car tests after pedestrian killed

Uber suspends self-driving car tests after pedestrian killed

- An Uber self-driving car killed a pedestrian in Arizona, United States

- Following the fatal crash, Uber has reportedly suspended its self-driving car tests

- The transportation company said it is cooperating with relevant bodies to investigate the crash

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Uber, a popular transportation network company headquartered in San Francisco, California, with operations in 633 cities worldwide, has paused its self-driving car tests after a pedestrian was struck and killed by a self-driving Uber in Tempe, Arizona, on Monday, March 19.

Tempe police said that the vehicle was in autonomous mode, though a safety driver was behind the wheel at the time of the crash, Axios reports.

The New York Times notes that the incident could be the first pedestrian ever killed by a self-driving vehicle.

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Briefly.co.za gathered that Uber said it is closely following its incident response process, though it declined to share more details about what that entails.

The company has also reportedly suspended its self-driving cars in all locations such as Pittsburgh, Tempe, San Francisco and Toronto.

Uber spokesperson reportedly said after the incident: “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident.”

Nevertheless, the police are asking a key question as they continue to investigate the crash: why the safety driver was unable or failed to intervene.

An analysis by Axios on California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) accident reports last year allegedly showed that humans cause most accidents that involve a self-driving car.

Reacting to the incident, Raj Rajkumar, head of Carnegie Mellon University's leading self-driving laboratory, said car makers and technology companies should freeze their race to field autonomous vehicles because "clearly the technology is not where it needs to be."

Rajkumar added: "This isn't like a bug with your phone. People can get killed. Companies need to take a deep breath. The technology is not there yet. We need to keep people in the loop."

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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