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Uber Suspends Driverless Car Testing After Pedestrian Killed in Arizona

Uber is suspending its tests of autonomous vehicles after one of its driverless cars struck and killed a pedestrian in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe.

David Royse | LedeTree

The Uber driverless SUV struck and killed the woman as she was crossing the street, and the company immediately suspended its driverless car program, Reuters reported.

It was believed to be the first fatality of a pedestrian caused by a self-driving car.  Police identified the victim as 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg.

“”We’re thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said on Twitter.

According to Tempe police, the vehicle was in autonomous mode, though there was a safety driver in the driver’s seat.

In addition to Tempe, Uber has been testing driverless vehicles in San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Toronto. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday the company was suspending its autonomous program in those cities as well.

In the wake of the accident, California regulators were in a difficult spot. Autonomous vehicle testing there currently requires human drivers – but that’s set to change in just a couple of weeks. Starting April 2, companies can test completely driverless cars there.

California DMV officials told the San Francisco Chronicle Monday afternoon that the state is seeking more information on the Arizona crash from Uber.


About David Royse

David Royse
David Royse is the Editor-in-Chief of Ledetree.com. He has been a professional journalist for more than 20 years, including stints with The Associated Press and The News Service of Florida. He enjoys writing about health and medical science, and hopeful stories about scientific breakthroughs and new technology.

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