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Uber Self-Driving Vehicle Strikes and Kills Pedestrian

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【Summary】Uber halted all of its self-driving operations after one of the company's self-driving Volvos struck and killed a bicyclist in Tempe, Arizona last night. Tempe police are still investigating the deadly crash.

Eric Walz    Mar 19, 2018 12:03 PM PT
Uber Self-Driving Vehicle Strikes and Kills Pedestrian
author: Eric Walz   

TEMPE, AZ —  Uber halted all of its self-driving operations after one of the company's self-driving Volvo XC90s struck and killed a bicyclist in Tempe, Arizona last night. Tempe police are still investigating the deadly accident.

According to ABC15, the Uber vehicle was reportedly headed northbound when the woman walking her bicycle outside of the crosswalk was struck.

The woman was taken to the hospital where she died from her injuries.

"Our hearts go out to the victim's family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident," Uber released in a statement.

Tempe Police said the vehicle was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash and a vehicle operator was also behind the wheel. No passengers were in the vehicle at the time.

The Tempe Police Department released the following statement on the incident:

"We wanted to provide an update to the Uber accident that occurred overnight on Mill Ave, just south of Curry Rd. The vehicle involved is one of Uber's self-driving vehicles. It was in autonomous mode at the time of the collision, with a vehicle operator behind the wheel. The vehicle was traveling northbound just south of Curry Rd. when a female walking outside of the crosswalk crossed the road from west to east when she was struck by the Uber vehicle. She was transported to a local area hospital where she passed away from her injuries. Her next of kin has not been notified yet so her name is not being released at this time. Uber is assisting and this is still an active investigation."

As a result of the incident, Uber halted all of its self-driving operations in Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto, which is a standard move, the company said.

Second Incident in Less Than a Month

This is the second incident involving one of Uber's self-driving vehicles in less than a month. An Uber self-driving Volvo XC90 collided with another vehicle in Pittsburgh on February 24 in an incident first reported by Pittsburgh's channel 11 last week. In that incident, Uber's self-driving vehicle collided with another vehicle making a turn at an intersection.

The crash occurred in Pittsburgh's Strip District near Uber's Pittsburgh headquarters.

No one was seriously injured in that crash, but the accident caused serious damage to both vehicles. It's not clear if the Uber vehicle was at fault.

Uber began testing self-driving cars in Tempe in February 2017 after Uber's California fleet of self-driving vehicles had their registrations revoked by the California DMV in December of 2016 for not having the required autonomous vehicle test permit. Days later, Uber shipped the vehicles to Arizona to test there.

Gov. Doug Ducey touted Arizona as a testing ground, saying at the time in a written statement, "Arizona welcomes Uber self-driving cars with open arms and wide open roads."

However, the incident in Arizona might slow progress, and make other companies developing self-driving cars pause and take a closer look at their technology—before testing it out on public roads.

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