Uber halts self-driving car production amidst a recent tragedy in Arizona this past weekend. One of Uber’s self-driving cars was driving at 40mph when it struck a female pedestrian crossing the street. This is the first pedestrian death that involves a self-driving vehicle. Uber has stated they will stop testing the self-driving vehicles, but we have a feeling this will not last for long.
The Volvo was in self-driving mode with a back-up driver at the wheel. Some sources say the collision may have been unavoidable. The pedestrian came from the sidewalk in the dark to cross the streets and was not easily seen by street lights. The driver stated that the incident happened in a flash.
The pedestrian was sent to the hospital where she died from the injuries sustained from the crash. The pedestrian was not walking in the crosswalks when she attempted to cross the street with her bicycle in hand. The city of Tempe is encouraging all pedestrians to do what they can to ensure their safety to use crosswalks at all times.
However, the burden for the crash relies on the autonomous vehicle company itself, since they are the ones responsible for the incident. Uber has assumed responsibility for the crash and has pulled the brakes on their self-driving cars (for now).
Since Uber’s self-driving vehicles are supposed to have high-tech sensors that make roads safer, and not cause accidents, there will likely be much controversy over this incident. The cars themselves are always collecting data, and it will be interesting to see what the data from this vehicle shows about the nature of the crash.