Toyota suspends public autonomous testing in United States following Uber crash

21 March, 2018, 04:33 | Author: Darrell Baldwin
  • Uber’s Self Driving Car Crash A Setback For Autonomous Vehicle Project

The driver of an autonomous Uber vehicle that killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, is unlikely to face blame for the accident, according to local police. In the aftermath of the Sunday incident, Uber suspended testing its self-driving cars on public roads in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto, just as it did following a crash past year.

The Denver Post reported in November that Colorado officials penalized Uber $8.9 million for allowing 57 people with past criminal or motor vehicle offenses to drive for the company, according to the state's Public Utility Commission.

The self-driving vehicle didn't slowdown before hitting Herzber.

The question of whether Uber will be held responsible for the death is uncertain, as is the future of autonomous vehicle testing in Arizona, which had invited in self-driving vehicle companies by passing particularly lenient regulations. The auto, part of a now-suspended trial of self-driving taxis, reportedly had a "safety driver" behind the wheel but was travelling autonomously at 40mph at the time of the crash on Sunday in Arizona.

Toyota was also clear that the suspension was for the benefit of its drivers whose job is to constantly monitor the behavior of the autonomous cars they test and be ready to override the system if anything goes wrong.

The Volvo XC90 had been going 40 miles an hour when it hit its victim, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, and showed no signs of slowing down when it did, Tempe police spokesperson Ronald Elcock said.

"The pedestrian was outside of the crosswalk".

In testimony before a U.S. Senate panel on Tuesday, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Heidi King declined to offer preliminary views on the cause of the Uber self-driving vehicle accident or directly answer whether she thought the incident was a "red flag" in advancing self-driving cars. In 2017, Uber briefly pulled its vehicles from roads after an Uber self-driving vehicle in Tempe landed on its side.

Herzberg, who was homeless, had been convicted on drug-possession charges.

A Tempe, Arizona woman has died following a collision with a self-driving Uber auto, which was operating in autonomous mode.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported late on Monday that Tempe police chief Sylvia Moir said that from viewing videos taken from the vehicle, "it is very clear it would have been hard to avoid this collision in any kind of mode (autonomous or human-driven), based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway". However, the police chief of Tempe, Arizona, the place where the fatal accident occurred, says a preliminary investigation into the matter reveals that Uber is "likely" not at fault for what happened, and that it would have been hard to avoid the outcome whether a human driver was in charge or a series of sensors and cameras.

Gina Fiandaca, Commissioner of the Boston Transportation Department, had asked companies testing driverless cars in Boston to take a break after the Uber accident.

Video footage will aid the ongoing investigation, and the case would be submitted to the district attorney, Elcock said. Safety regulators later determined Tesla was not at fault.

Some congressional Democrats have blocked the legislation over safety concerns, and Sunday's fatality could hamper passage of the Bill, congressional aides said on Monday.

This message wasn't the only welcome mat Arizona put out for Uber, as the state only requires minimum liability insurance policies to operate self-driving cars and does not require the company to report crashes or testing information.



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