Uber Suspends Self-driving Fleet After Autonomous Car Kills Woman in Arizona



Photo by Mark Warner from Flickr

According to TV station ABC15, Uber has suspended the experimental autonomous vehicle of the company in Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Toronto, and San Francisco after a deadly collision between an Uber vehicle and a woman from Tempe, Arizona.

The said incident probably marks the first pedestrian fatality that involves an autonomous vehicle.

The news report said that the woman was struck and later died from her injuries. She was walking outside of the crosswalk. ABC15 was able to provide some other details regarding the said incident. A video from the station said that the woman was a bicyclist, and revealed an image of a twisted bike that was at the side of the road. According to Tempe police, the Uber car was reportedly operating in self-driving mode, a driver was behind the wheel at the time. On Twitter, the National Transportation Safety Board said that it planned to launch an investigation regarding the incident, noting “more to come.”

“Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident,” an Uber spokesperson told the TV station. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi also tweeted his condolences about the sad news, noting that “We’re thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened.”

Uber said that the suspension of its autonomous vehicle program is “a standard move.”

Arizona has observed an alarming number of pedestrian deaths in 2018. A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association that was released on the 1st day of March said that Arizona had the highest rate of pedestrian deaths in the nation, based on available data from last year.

Uber’s autonomous vehicles have been operating in Arizona since February 2017 as a part of a national series of tests of the self-driving vehicles.