Recent local police reports from Arizona reveal that a woman crossing the street was knocked down by an Uber driverless SUV and met her demise. After being asked by police, Uber suspended the test program through North America for investigation.
This is a tremendously terrible incident; it’s unbelievable that it came this early for the entire industry of unmanned vehicles. Many leading tech firms of today are on the verge of introducing unmanned vehicles for transport convenience, and this comes off as a backlash for them.
This was the first ultimate fatal event by a driverless car in Phoenix, Arizona, on Sunday, March 19, during the night. The SUV was in driverless mode, but there was a driver in the car, as per local police reports.
At the time the vehicle was driving north and a woman was knocked down by a four-lane road outside the sidewalk. – local police statement
The victim’s identity was confirmed as Elaine Herzberg, 49 years old. She has rushed to the hospital right after but passed away on the way. Uber mourned the deceased via Twitter, saying they are to actively cooperate in the investigation.
The automaker of the SUV, Volvo, confirmed its XC90 model and Uber incorporated autonomous technology for the testing. Russell Datz, the Volvo spokesperson, said that the technology was not developed by the Swedish brand.
National Transportation Safety Board and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are collaborating to form an ad hoc group for investigation. The latter revealed that it is in contact with Volvo that’s presently owned by Chinese carmaker Geely.
The traffic control department of Ontario, Canada, is as well on the investigation. Uber conducted autonomous testing in the province of Ontario.
On Friday, Uber and Waymo urged the US Congress to introduce relevant laws supporting autonomous driving to accelerate the country’s technology. Democrats voiced security concerns that would lead to suspending relevant legislation. On Monday, the National Assembly Assistant stated that the fatal accident would obstruct things further.
John Thune, a member of the US Senate Commerce Committee, is on a spree to support legislation in the nation. He said in a statement that the accident “emphasized the importance of formulating relevant regulations for driverless cars.”
As per stats, the Uber autonomous car has so far traveled over 2 million miles and has had over 100 unmanned test vehicles in Phoenix.
On the other hand, Arizona’s approach towards unmanned tech has been warm, letting companies conduct tests with unmanned vehicles to encourage economic growth and employment. Governor Doug Ducey in 2015 signed an executive order for Uber to allow unmanned vehicle tests. Uber was denied the same previously by the State Government of California.
Stay with us for the next update on this case as it surfaces.