Uber Self-Driving Car Death: What We Know


Yesterday, we learned that Uber was halting all of its self-driving tests after one of the company's self-driving cars struck a pedestrian in Tempe, AZ, on Sunday. No serious injuries were reported, and the driver of the other auto was cited for a violation.

The Volvo XC90 crossover test vehicle was fitted with Uber-developed autonomous software and hardware created to detect and avoid impacts and to accelerate, brake, and steer on its own.

On Monday, Tempe police Sergeant Ronald Elcock told reporters that impairment doesn't appear to be a factor for either Herzberg or Vasquez, and that it was too early to tell who was more at fault.

The incident involving the Uber vehicle and Ms Herzberg reminds us that innovation is fraught with pitfalls. Safety advocates have called for a national moratorium on the testing of all so-called robot cars on public roads. Promising to keep oversight light, they invited the companies to test their robotic vehicles on the state's roads.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's office will decide if any laws were broken.

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If you're wondering where exactly in the city Uber as been testing its self driving cars, apparently all of it is happens near the University of Toronto's downtown campus.

- So far, 21 USA states plus the District of Columbia have enacted legislation related to autonomous vehicles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. There were no injuries. It must be noted that while the Uber vehicle was in full autonomous mode, the Tesla was in semi-autonomous mode, requiring the driver to be ready to take over at any moment.

Herzberg, 49, who police suspect was homeless, is thought to be the first pedestrian killed by a self-driving auto.

Uber has said its ability to build autonomous cars is essential to its success in the rapidly changing transportation industry. But fears remain over how driverless cars will interact with humans on the roads.

"In 2016 the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in our Case Study on Autonomous and Driverless Cars raised the need to address societal questions before highly and fully automated cars are both accepted and legally able to be positioned on our roads; this will include having the right regulatory framework in place". Rain, snow and ice are particularly challenging for autonomous cars. Last year, it partially faulted Tesla Inc's Autopilot system for a fatal crash in Florida in 2016. But this accident may cause regulators to clamp down on what has seemed like a headlong rush to flawless the technology by risking, to some extent, the safety of the public.