Published: Tue, March 20, 2018
Business | By Kate Woods

Uber suspends self-driving vehicle trials following fatal crash

Uber suspends self-driving vehicle trials following fatal crash

A self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed a pedestrian in suburban Phoenix in the first death involving a fully autonomous test vehicle, prompting the ride-hailing company Monday to suspend all road-testing of such autos in the USA and Canada.

The Uber vehicle was in autonomous mode, with an operator behind the wheel, when it hit a woman walking in the street in the city of Tempe late Sunday, according to the San Francisco-based company.

Uber said Monday that it was pausing tests of all its self-driving vehicles on public roads in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Toronto and the greater Phoenix area.

Automakers and technology companies such as Uber, General Motors and Toyota have made substantial investments that hinge on significant revisions to existing vehicle safety regulations written under the assumption that a licensed human would always be in control of a vehicle.

The crash in Arizona isn't the first involving an Uber autonomous test vehicle. It's Lyft, it's Tesla, and it's a bunch of other big-name companies who want to put self-driving cars on the road in the future.

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A auto with the Uber self-driving prototype was involved in a fatal crash with a cyclist in Tempe, Arizona.

Autonomous vehicles with laser, radar and camera sensors and sophisticated computers have been billed as the way to reduce the more than 40,000 traffic deaths a year in the US alone.

"People are going to be aware of this tragedy and this death, even if they are unaware of the hundreds of other people who died in motor crashes today", said Smith.

California and Arizona have been particularly encouraging, hoping that companies developing autonomous technology in those states will create local jobs and facilities devoted to a promising new industry. "Despite the fact that humans are also prone to error, we have as a society many decades of understanding of those errors".

Tesla's Autopilot is considered a Level 2 system, and getting to Level 4 is a long road ahead.

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They decided this after a fatal accident in Tempe, Arizona killed a pedestrian by a self-driving Uber taxi. Arizona state law requires that pedestrians yield to right-of-way vehicles when not using crosswalks.

Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Monday the incident is a "wake up call to the entire AV industry and government to put a high priority on safety".

The NTSB said that driver inattention was to blame but that design limitations with the system played a major role in the crash. Some of these companies, like Uber, have begun testing their vehicles around the country.

Autonomous-vehicle technology has been touted as having potential to save fuel, ease congestion, and make transportation safer.

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