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Arizona bans Uber's self-driving cars after fatal crash

27 March, 2018, 18:56 | Author: Shawna Walton
  • CC BY 2.0 Uber Volvo SUV checking out the streets of Toronto Lloyd Alter

Waymo, formerly the self-driving vehicle project of Google, said that in tests on roads in California past year, its cars went an average of almost 5,600 miles before the driver had to take control from the computer to steer out of trouble.

The state of Arizona has called time on Uber's self-driving vehicle test programme following a fatal crash that took place on March 18 in Tempe.

The camera footage released on Wednesday by the Tempe Police Department showed both exterior and interior angles of the auto ride leading up to the moment the pedestrian, identified as Elaine Herzberg, 49, was hit. While this is an activity that most of us have done at some point, this woman was unsuspecting of the fact that she would be struck and killed by a self-driving Uber SUV. The backup driver can be seen in the surveillance video in the auto at the time of the collision looking down at their phone and not forward at the road.

Waymo Chief Executive Officer John Krafcik said his company's self-driving software would likely have avoided the pedestrian death in which an Uber autonomous vehicle was involved. Waymo began ferrying passengers in Arizona last year, without safety drivers behind the wheel, and is planning a paid robo-taxi service this year. He said he expects public safety to be the top priority for those who operate self-driving cars.

Uber has been testing its self-driving cars in a regulatory vacuum in Arizona.

With its testing locus in Arizona, Uber made a decision to terminate the test on its autonomous vehicles until it can discover whether the system has a fault or not.

For the time being, Uber has halted all public-road testing of its self-driving cars as the investigation into the accident continues. The National Transportation Safety Board, which makes recommendations for preventing crashes, is investigating the crash.

While that redefinition won't help Uber's reputation or stock price in the short term, it could end up forcing the company to become more serious about safety, which could save the company in the long run. "We continue to assist investigators in any way we can".

"It is the high-accuracy sensing systems inside ADAS that are saving lives today, proven over billions of miles driven", says Shashua, who called the technology a "foundational element" of our self-driving future. The company is regretting this and said that many test drivers are under emotional tragedy henceforth they have to pause the test drive on public roads. He said an autonomous vehicle should pull information from cameras, radar, and lidar independently, rather than fusing the information provided by all three into one data stream.


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