Published: Wed, March 21, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Uber puts driverless auto tests on hold after woman is killed

Uber puts driverless auto tests on hold after woman is killed

Uber's driver-less cars were first launched in 2016 in the United States city of Pittsburg, Prior to Sunday's accident, the pioneering rideshare platform had launched driver-less services in other Canadian and U.S. cities, including Toronto, Phoenix, and San Francisco. Her comments have caused a stir in this closely watched investigation, which is being characterized as the first human killed by an autonomous vehicle.

It is believed to be the first pedestrian death associated with self-driving technology.

The union has been instrumental in the ongoing fight about proposed legislation making it easier to put self-driving cars on public roads. The Volvo XC90 SUV was in autonomous mode with an operator behind the wheel. Herzberg died from the injuries she sustained at a nearby hospital, said police.

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Pedestrian death highlights gaps in safety, union says. Moir said that based on the video captured, "it's very clear it would have been hard to avoid this collision in any kind of mode (autonomous or human-driven) based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway".

"Our investigation did not show at this time that there were significant signs of the vehicle slowing down", said Tempe's Sgt. Ronald Elcock, CBS News reported. The local police department has been investigating the incident. Canada's transportation ministry in Ontario, where Uber conducts testing, also said it was reviewing the accident.

Moreover, as long as the company refrains from testing its cars on public roads, it will be unable to collect the mapping data it likely needs to plug into the cars' algorithms and deploy them commercially sometime next year. In 2015, the state created specific zones for self-driving auto development on rural and suburban streets. Cook has even described the company's effort as a "large project" around autonomous systems. Though there have been accidents of self-driving cars in the past, such as Tesla Model S in Florida, regulators did not push a stop button on testing or implement stricter regulations. "That's why Uber test there". The ride-sharing company has been testing self-driving vehicles for months as it competes with other technology companies and automakers like Ford and General Motors. More than 600,000 skilled Teamsters operate trucks and other vehicles and are among the safest drivers on the road. Self-driving cars have the potential to save millions of lives and improve quality of life for people around the world.

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Local authorities and Uber are investigating the accident, which has already begun drawing public attention to the risks and benefits of self-driving cars.

Uber has confirmed the vehicle was travelling in autonomous mode with a safety driver behind the wheel during the crash. The state has largely taken a hands-off approach, the newspaper said, promising that it would help keep the driverless vehicle industry free from regulation. The company foresees a network of autonomous cars that would that would supplement - and eventually replace - human-driven cars.

Many in the motor and insurance industries expect safety benefits from autonomous cars since more than 90% of accidents involve human error. Rain, snow and ice are particularly challenging for autonomous cars. The Tempe Police Department has since walked some of it back, issuing a statement that reads, "Tempe Police Department does not determine fault in vehicular collisions".

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