Published on March 20th, 2018 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Uber self-driving car leaves pedestrian dead in Arizona
A self-driving car operated by the ride-hailing company Uber has been involved in a fatal accident with a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. Reports indicate while a driver was present behind the wheel, the car was in autonomous mode at the time of the collision. No passengers were in the Uber when the collision occurred.
The deceased woman has been identified as 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg. She was rushed to a nearby hospital and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving. A human occupant was in the self-driven Volvo SUV at the time of the accident but was not in control of the vehicle. The incident took place around 10 pm, according to the local police. Tempe authorities say the the vehicle was traveling northbound on Curry Road near Mill Avenue. There were no other passengers in the vehicle at the time of the incident.
Arizona is one of the few places in the United States where it’s legal to test autonomous vehicles without keeping a human in the driver’s seat to take over when necessary. Waymo, the autonomous vehicle technology company under Google’s Alphabet umbrella, is already testing self-driving vehicles in Arizona that do not have a human driver as a safety net.
California has announced plans to allow autonomous vehicle testing without human intervention starting in April of this year. Other states are likely to follow suit as autonomous vehicle testing continues to move forward at a fever pace in the United States. One main area on which researchers must focus as long as self-driving cars share the road with human drivers is how complex computer systems will respond to potentially erratic and unpredictable human behavior.
Uber, for its part, says it is fully cooperating with local authorities. Sarah Abboud, a spokeswoman for Uber, said in a statement: “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident.”