*The Uber rideshare service has put a stop to its testing of autonomous vehicles after a woman crossing the street in Arizona was struck and killed by one of its driverless cars.
The car, a Volvo XC90, actually had a safety operator behind the wheel when the collision occurred.
Are you thinking the same thing I’m thinking? If the “safety operator” couldn’t do anything…???
Via a statement on Twitter Uber said: “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident.”
The National Transportation Safety Board said in a tweet that it is “sending a team to investigate” the incident.
The ride-share giant had reportedly been testing its autonomous cars all over Arizona — giving rides to a small number of people.
Elaine Herzberg, 49, was reportedly walking just outside the crosswalk between Mill Avenue and Curry Road on the evening of March 18 when she was struck. She was taken to a hospital where she later died from her injuries.
The company has now suspended the autonomous car operations in Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto. Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said on Twitter: “Some incredibly sad news out of Arizona. We’re thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened.”
This isn’t the first time one of Uber’s autonomous cars has failed.
Initial testing of its autonomous vehicles on public roads was in California in 2016. But within hours of the trial commencing, the vehicles were caught running red lights.
California then revoked Uber’s license to operate self-driving cars in the state, claiming it had not paid for the correct permit to test its vehicles.
Uber moved its testing to Arizona, but soon after that, in March 2017, one of its autonomous Volvos was knocked onto its side at an intersection. Although the car was driving itself at the time of the collision, it was ruled that a human-driven vehicle had failed to give way at a traffic signal, thus causing the crash.
Now that part right there is why I never thought this would be a good idea. As long as there are human drivers on the road with the autonomous vehicles, its an accident waiting to happen.
This was an earlier video report of the incident.
According to the New York Times…
Sgt. Ronald Elcock, a Tempe police spokesman, said during a news conference that a preliminary investigation showed that the vehicle was moving around 40 miles per hour when it struck Ms. Herzberg, who was walking with her bicycle on the street.
He said it did not appear as though the car had slowed down before impact and that the Uber safety driver had shown no signs of impairment. The weather was clear and dry.
“This tragic incident makes clear that autonomous vehicle technology has a long way to go before it is truly safe for the passengers, pedestrians, and drivers who share America’s roads,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut.
What an unfortunate thing to happen. Our hearts are heavy, and our condolences go out to the family of Ms. Herzberg.