Uber suspends self-driving car tests after pedestrian killed

Uber suspends self-driving car tests after pedestrian killed

According to the local police, the woman was walking her bike across the street outside a pedestrian crossing when she was hit by the car, which was in autonomous mode when the accident occurred.

The woman reportedly died after being taken to a local hospital in Tempe, approximately 18km east of Phoenix. Carol Reiley, co-founder of Drive.AI, a company developing systems to help driverless cars share the streets with pedestrians and cyclists, told Curbed that car designers need to create "a car with a personality"-one that has the language to send sophisticated signals about intent, as well as recognize intent in others".

The National Transportation Safety Board said it is sending a team of four investigators to Tempe to look into the factors surrounding the accident.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi also tweeted his condolences.

An Uber driverless car heads out for a test drive in 2016 in San Francisco.

Following this unfortunate incident, Uber says they've suspended testing of autonomous vehicles in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto. "But it raises questions about whether we're taking enough cautions and whether we're being responsible enough with the development of this technology". He called for an immediate national moratorium on the testing of self-driving cars on public roads until an independent analysis of what caused the accident can be completed. "This was the nightmare that I've dreaded for quite some time", said Carnegie Mellon professor Raj Rajkumar, who's studied self-driving cars since 2004.

The death fuelled concerns over the safety of autonomous vehicles as they move closer to widespread adoption. There was one occupant in the vehicle; Uber has confirmed the car was operating in autonomous mode, with the occupant present as a safety backup.

"The City of Tempe has been supportive of autonomous vehicle testing because of the innovation and promise the technology may offer in many areas, including transportation options for disabled residents and seniors", Mitchell said in the statement.

"Our hearts go out to the victim's family".

Arizona has opened its arms to companies testing self-driving vehicles as a means to economic growth and jobs. Gatwick airport is planning to test self-driving shuttle buses this summer.

Uber's autonomous vehicles are fitted with a multitude of different sensors and cameras, allowing it to detect road markings, buildings, traffic cones and pedestrians. "It is very sad that someone had to die for NHTSA and Congress to pay attention to the fact that these technologies are still very experimental and not ready for widespread deployment".

Autonomous vehicles don't drive drunk, don't get sleepy and aren't easily distracted.

Chao argued that self-driving technology could also improve mobility for the elderly, disabled and other restricted populations. The toll road company will use smart cars to test the technology's reliablility, but have a human in the driver's seat at all times.

Waymo early this month began using its self-driving trucks to haul cargo bound for the internet giant's data centres in Georgia.

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