Published: Tue, March 20, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Arizona pedestrian is killed by Uber self-driving auto

Arizona pedestrian is killed by Uber self-driving auto

The vehicle was reportedly driving early Monday when it hit the woman as she was walking outside of a crosswalk.

The woman was taken to the hospital where she died of her injuries.

Monday's accident was the first time a self-driving auto killed a pedestrian.

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

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board said they were sending teams to Tempe. Some congressional Democrats have blocked the legislation over safety concerns, and Monday's fatality could hamper passage of the bill, congressional aides said Monday. "Since the executive order, Arizona has become home to testing for numerous technology and automotive companies that are leading the innovation into the new frontier". The California Department of Motor Vehicles eventually forced Uber to pull the cars from the road. As a result, Uber isn't the only company with self-driving cars on the road there.

Uber said it paused its self-driving operations across North America in the wake of the crash.

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At this stage, it's unclear whether technical issues caused the fatal crash, or if a human driver could have avoided it had they been responsible for the controls. However, it's hard to determine how much progress the software has made without knowing things like how often drivers had to take back control of the vehicle from the autonomous system and how well the vehicles maneuver in complex environments. When Uber first began testing self-driving vehicles in 2016, the cars were caught running red-lights leading to a high-profile dispute with regulators. On Friday, Uber and Alphabet Inc's Waymo vehicle unit had written US senators urging them to approve sweeping self-driving auto legislation "in the coming weeks". The vehicle involved in that accident featured a partially autonomous system that required human supervision. The company has more than 100 autonomous cars testing on the roads of the greater Phoenix area, the company's prime testing ground due to the state's loose regulations and hospitable weather.

That data will help to determine whether the operator was at fault or whether the system was at fault.

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