Uber SDA Has Killed an Arizona Woman

Ivan Schwartz
March 21, 2018

Uber has suspended its driverless vehicle testing on public roads in the USA after a pedestrian was struck and killed by one of its test cars.

Consumer Watchdog states that although this is the first known death caused by a autonomous vehicle on public road, this tragedy is unsurprising given the information revealed in the disengagement reports about the "autonomous" capabilities of these vehicles. But the dangers posed by autonomous vehicles come with the possibility to be tested and reduced before cars are even on the streets.

However, the accident on Monday underscored possible challenges that exist moving forward for the technology as the vehicles confront situations in the real world that involve real people.

"Fully autonomous vehicles would have to be driven hundreds of millions of miles and sometimes hundreds of billions of miles to demonstrate their safety in terms of fatalities and injuries", Rand said. Markey is a member of the Senate's Transportation committee.

Uber said it is suspending self-driving auto tests in all North American cities after a fatal accident.

The vehicle was in autonomous mode however there was an operator behind the wheel. She died at a hospital.

A woman who police say was hit and killed by an Uber self-driving vehicle has been identified as 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg. "As soon as she walked into the lane of traffic she was struck", said Tempe Police Sergeant, Ronald Elcock.

"I suspect preliminarily it appears that the Uber would likely not be at fault in this accident", Moir told the Chronicle, adding, "I won't rule out the potential to file charges against the [backup driver] in the Uber vehicle". The group said Uber has demonstrated a concern about rushing robot vehicles on to the road and without a concern about safety.

One of Uber’s autonomous Volvo XC90s
One of Uber’s autonomous Volvo XC90s

Insurance implications will be tested - who is at fault?

"What this incident indicates is that the state of autonomous driving (and especially Uber) is very far from where it needs to be to become market-ready", Richard Windsor, technology analyst for London-based Edison Investment Research, said in a blog post Tuesday.

If approved, a new Senate bill could free up some existing safety standards for companies to test their autonomous cars. "That's why Uber test there".

Uber has said its ability to build autonomous cars is essential to its success in the changing transportation industry.

Automakers and tech companies are competing to be first with the technology.

While much of the testing is conducted on nearly serene environment under a set of rules, states in U.S. like Arizona have reportedly been lenient as they want more companies to choose them for performing real-time experiments on public roads.

The union has been instrumental in the ongoing fight about proposed legislation making it easier to put self-driving cars on public roads.

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