Pedestrian hit and killed by autonomous vehicle in Tempe, Arizona.
In the race to get self-driving vehicles and autonomous ride hailing service installed, are companies taking a little too much liberty with their efforts? It may appear so, according to reports that a 49-year-old Arizona woman has died from her injuries after she was struck by an autonomous Uber vehicle outside of a pedestrian crosswalk. The vehicle, operating in autopilot mode, had a human driver inside the vehicle.
Uber announced it is now suspending all street testing of its autonomous vehicles and is cooperating completely with the investigation, which marks a refreshingly humble change from a company that has had no shortage of “wrong side of right” issues since its founding.
Series of issues
The race Uber faced with names like Alphabet (Waymo), Apple, Toyota, and Tesla may have been too much, too soon for a fledgling technology. Uber has already come under fire for news that its autonomous vehicles have run red lights and ignored pedestrian crosswalks in previous street tests. At the time, the company tried to push back against those allegations, but YouTube video quickly surfaced of the incidents.
Uber is no stranger to public scrutiny and scorn. From its lengthy battles with privacy violations and sexual harassment in the workplace to its fight with various cab companies, it seems like the ride hailing service is always in the news…but not in a good way. Most recently, reports surfaced that Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland, Florida, shooter who killed 17 people in a high school on February 14th, actually took an Uber–-with his AR-15 in hand–to the school that day, prompting critics to ask why the driver didn’t alert the authorities.
There is no word yet on when or if Uber plans to resume road tests of its self-driving vehicles, but there is reason to believe it will not be until the police finish their investigation into the pedestrian death.