Self-driving Uber killed a pedestrian. Now what?
Uber announced the suspension of autonomous vehicle tests in all US cities after a fatal accident. On Monday, a car knocked over a woman crossing the road. The crash happened near Mill Avenue and Curry Road early in the morning in Tempe, Arizona, police confirm. The Uber car was headed north when a woman walking across the street was hit.
This could be the first pedestrian ever to be killed in a self-driving car accident. The car worked in the autonomous mode during the accident. Uber is cooperating with the state authorities in the investigation of the incident. According to the police of Tempe, 49-years-old female was taken to the hospital after the accident, where she died of injuries. A year ago, Uber already stopped testing unmanned vehicles, after the SUV Volvo with self-driving equipment rolled over in Arizona.
The head of the company Dara Khosrowshahi said that he was deeply saddened by the tragic news:
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) 19 марта 2018 г.
There were other incidents involving self-driving vehicles developed by other companies – in particular, the vehicle that Google tested, crashed into the side of the bus during the race in 2016. The Google car was damaged by a wing and one of the motion sensors. The cause of the accident was the error of the on-board computer, which decided that the bus would miss it. The company accepted its responsibility for the accident and promised to make changes to the self-driving vehicle software.
The police department of Tempe still owns the vehicle, so Uber cannot access it for analysis. These data will help determine if it was a system error. Based on this, Uber will then decide on the next step. If it is a system failure, Uber is most likely to dig up the software and suspend the fleet. If this is an operator failure, Uber may decide to redistribute the fleet in the four cities that are currently being tested.