Uber suspends self-driving vehicle testing after cyclist is killed

Self-Driving Uber Car Crashes In Arizona — Kills Pedestrian

Self-driving Uber kills woman in first fatality of its kind

The Guardian says the accident is the "first reported fatal crash involving a self-driving vehicle and a pedestrian in the US", prompting calls for "tighter regulations of the nascent technology".

Note here, that the Uber vehicle had a human safety driver at the wheel, in order to shut down the self-driving mode in case of an emergency.

On Sunday evening 49 year old Elaine Herzberg from Tempe, Arizona was struck by a Volvo XC90 which was reportedly in autonomous mode with an operator behind the wheel.

Uber has immediately suspended all such tests, which were being carried over in Arizona, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

It is believed to be the first fatality caused by the autonomous vehicles.

Uber says on Twitter that it is "fully cooperating" with the investigation and expressed condolences to the family of the victim.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said they will investigate. The crash highlighted the shortcomings of the increasingly common semi-autonomous systems that let cars drive themselves in limited conditions. The cars must understand when they're in another vehicle's blind spot and drive extra carefully. Earlier a Tesla driver was killed while using "autopilot mode" inside the Tesla Model S. It was later alleged that the 40-year-old driver was watching Harry Potter while the vehicle was moving at a high speed and it rammed into a truck claiming his life.

The "Tempe Police Department does not determine fault in vehicular collisions", the department said in a statement late Monday, in reply to questions from Reuters about the chief's comments. According to the police, Herzberg was pushing her bicycle across the street when the vehicle hit her, which has turned Uber's dream innovation into a nightmare.

Uber and Waymo on Friday urged Congress to pass sweeping legislation to speed the introduction of self-driving cars into the United States. A spokesman for Uber Technologies Inc said the company was suspending its North American tests.

But the non-profit Consumer Watchdog has warned that roads are being turned "into private laboratories for robot cars with no regard for our safety".

Arizona was declared in 2015 a regulation-free zone to attract testing operations from companies like Uber and Waymo.

In the field of human endeavour, people get hurt and people get killed.

The ride-hailing firm has been testing the self-driving vehicles in Tempe and Phoenix for months. He also laid out the other hurdles facing his team in an article on the Wired website, "Vehicles need to be able to see, interpret, and predict the behavior of human drivers, human cyclists, and human pedestrians-perhaps even communicate with them". General Motors is also testing in the Phoenix area.

As of now, in the last 10 years, Waymo, which is Google's self-driving auto project has driven more than 5 million miles in self-driving mode, while Uber's self-driven cars project has driven around 3 million miles.

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