Uber to settle with family of victim in self-driving vehicle crash

30 March, 2018, 00:43 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • New cars are quickly getting self-driving safety features

Just last week, an autonomous vehicle driving in Tempe, Arizona, struck and killed a pedestrian walking the crosswalk.

Uber has offered no comment on the ongoing situation in Arizona. In a statement late Tuesday, an Uber spokeswoman said: "We believe that technology has the power to make transportation safer than ever before and recognise our responsibility to contribute to safety in our communities".

Uber's cars in Arizona "were struggling" before the accident, The Times reported.

The Verge reports, "The California DMV confirmed that Uber's authority to test self-driving cars in the state will end March 31st following the decision not to renew its license". While experience didn't necessary factor into the crash, it certainly doesn't help the company's case for testing in Arizona and its testing now being blocked by the state's governor. "As governor, my top priority is public safety".

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Meaning Uber test cars driving by themselves, with human drivers as backup. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey also ordered the Department of Transportation to immediately suspend all autonomous vehicle tests on public roadways within the state.

Uber tested about 29 vehicles in California at one time, whereas it gathered data from roughly 200 vehicles across Arizona, California, Ontario, and Pennsylvania.

The March 18 fatality near downtown Tempe also presents an unprecedented liability challenge because self-driving vehicles, which are still in the development stage, involve a complex system of hardware and software often made by outside suppliers.

E-mails, however, show that Uber started testing self-driving cars in Arizona several months earlier.

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Update 3/28, 3:26 PM: Updated with comment from the Arizona governor's office.

"Dara and I both know all of you have been through a lot of change, and that is not easy", Meyhofer wrote in the email obtained by Bloomberg. Experts told The Associated Press that the technology on Uber's auto should have spotted (name her) the pedestrian and the failure revealed a serious flaw.

Previously, Uber was one of the most aggressive advocates of self-driving cars, with founder Travis Kalanick declaring the emerging technology critical to the future of the company. San Francisco-based Uber told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency that it decided not to reapply for a permit needed to operate autonomous vehicles on California roads.

Uber has about 200 vehicles at all four testing locations.

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