AUTO INDUSTRY NEWS

Uber to continue autonomous driving program despite Arizona incident

Uber to continue autonomous driving program despite Arizona incident image

Anton Andres / Volvo | May 29, 2018 08:19

Uber ends autonomous vehicle testing in Arizona, but will continue elsewhere

Two months ago, Uber's autonomous driving testing was put in limbo following an untoward incident. A self-driving Uber test vehicle struck a woman in Tempe, Arizona and tragically died en route to the hospital. With that, March 18, 2018 marks the first pedestrian death from an autonomous vehicle.

Uber responded to this incident by temporarily halting the testing of their autonomous driving program. A few months later and the company has announced that they will be stopping the program, at least for now and in Arizona. Following the incident, Arizona governor Doug Ducey suspended Uber’s license to test self-driving cars in the state indefinitely. As a result of that, the company has packed their bags in the city and soon, over 300 employees are out of work. An Uber spokesperson did say that those affected by the company's move out of Arizona will be assisted by the company.

However, that doesn't spell the end of the company's autonomous driving program. Uber is still carrying out tests in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and San Francisco, California, where the company still has active permits to run autonomous cars on the road. There are two more cities in California wherein they are seeking permits to test autonomous vehicles in public.

Along with that, the US' National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has also released the results of their preliminary investigation. Their report stated that it 'does not contain probable cause, states the pedestrian was dressed in dark clothing, did not look in the direction of the vehicle until just before impact, and crossed the road in a section not directly illuminated by lighting. The pedestrian was pushing a bicycle that did not have side reflectors and the front and rear reflectors, along with the forward headlamp, were perpendicular to the path of the oncoming vehicle. The pedestrian entered the roadway from a brick median, where signs facing toward the roadway warn pedestrians to use a crosswalk, which is located 360 feet north of the Mill Avenue crash site. The report also notes the pedestrian’s post-accident toxicology test results were positive for methamphetamine and marijuana.'

Read the NTSB's full preliminary report here.