A woman has died after being struck by one of Uber’s self driving cars in Arizona. The incident is the first fatal autonomous vehicle accident involving a pedestrian.
The Uber vehicle was operating in autonomous mode with a driver behind the wheel when it struck a pedestrian in the US city of Tempe, according to the ride sharing company.
The pedestrian was transported to the hospital after the crash but died as a result of her injuries. Uber said the vehicle operator was not harmed.
Tempe is one of two US cities – along with Pittsburg – in which Uber operates autonomous vehicles as part of its regular ridesharing service. The self-driving cars always have an operator behind the wheel when picking up customers.
Uber said they are suspending the use of their self-driving cars for both customer rides and testing. The technology was also being tested in Toronto and San Francisco.
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. https://t.co/cwTCVJjEuz
— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) March 19, 2018
“Our hearts go out to the victim’s family,” an Uber spokesperson told AFP. “We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident.”
The Tempe police department is in possession of the Uber vehicle and is investigating the incident. The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the accident.
Uber is expected to conduct its own investigation into the incident to determine whether it was a case of operator or system fault. The latter of which will likely keep the fleet grounded longer.
In March 2017 Uber pulled its self-driving cars off the road in Tempe following an accident in which the Uber vehicle was operating in autonomous mode. No one was harmed in that accident. At the time, Tempe police said Uber was not at fault.
In 2016 a man was killed after his Tesla car, operating in “Autopilot mode”, failed to detect a crossing tractor trailer. Reportedly, the man had failed to take control of the vehicle despite several warning to do so.
An investigation by the US National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause of the Tesla crash was the mix of the “truck driver’s failure to yield the right of way and a car driver’s inattention due to over reliance on vehicle automation”.