A fatal accident involving an Uber self-driving car has led to the suspension of all the company’s testing programmes in what is reportedly the first fatality resulting from an autonomous car and a pedestrian.
The autonomous vehicle collided with a woman in Tempe Arizona, as she crossed the road early on Monday morning. The woman, who has yet to be named, died of her injuries whilst in hospital. A spokesman for the National Transportation Saftey Board (NTSB) said the incident is currently being investigated.
Although the car was in autonomous mode, Tempe police have said that a vehicle operator behind the wheel when the incident occurred. There were no other passengers in the vehicle.
Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We’re fully cooperating with @TempePolice and local authorities as they investigate this incident.
— Uber Comms (@Uber_Comms) March 19, 2018
Following the incident, Uber has suspended all its testing programmes that are currently taking place in Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Toronto and San Francisco. Last year, the company suspended its programmes following a collision that did not result in any serious injuries. When Uber first began testing self-driving vehicles in 2016, the cars were caught running red-lights leading to a high-profile dispute with regulators.
Tesla’s autopilot technology had already faced scrutiny by the NTSB following an accident when a car placed into automatic collided with a fire engine, earlier this year. The technology is different to that used by Uber.
In early February, Uber, along with car rental company Zipcar, signed a petition calling for strict limitations on owning driverless cars so that only qualified companies, like themselves, can operate autonomous vehicles
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