Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Self-driving Uber vehicle kills a woman in the road accident

Uber’s Self Driving Car Crash A Setback For Autonomous Vehicle Project Uber AV involved in fatal crash in Arizona U.S
Nellie Chapman | 20 March, 2018, 13:14

Ride-sharing giant Uber yesterday suspended its self-driving auto programme after one of the vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in the USA state of Arizona.

"This tragic accident underscores why we need to be exceptionally cautious when testing and deploying autonomous vehicle technologies on public roads", said Democratic Senator Edward Markey, a member of the transportation committee, in a statement.

The victim, identifyied as Elaine Herzberg, 49, later died from her injuries in a hospital, police said.

Uber suspended its self-driving vehicle testing in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

Still, as autonomous vehicles are increasingly tested in complex urban and suburban environments, the chances of a fatal incident rose. Our prayers are with the victim, and our hearts go out to her family.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which makes recommendations for preventing crashes, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which can enact regulations, sent investigators. The crash highlighted the shortcomings of the increasingly common semi-autonomous systems that let cars drive themselves in limited conditions.

But Monday's fatal accident has sparked fresh debate about whether self-driving cars can be trusted.

In 2016, Tesla Motors had said that the driver of a vehicle which was on Tesla's autopilot mode had died after an accident in United States' Florida.

In September, US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao released new guidelines that permit more testing of self-driving cars and address regulation between the federal government and states.

The police said that the vehicle was traveling 38 miles per hour in a 35 mile-per-hour zone-though a Google Street View shot of the roadway taken last July shows a speed limit of 45 miles per hour along that stretch of road.

The accident is the first time a pedestrian has been killed on a public road by an autonomous vehicle, which has been praised as the safer alternative to a traditional auto.

Uber said they would "fully cooperate" with local authorities in the investigation. "We should be terrified about human driving".

Many states, including MI and Arizona, have taken a largely hands-off approach, hoping to gain jobs from the new technology, while California and others have taken a harder line.

Human drivers rarely face criminal charges for accidents like the one on Monday, but the involvement of an autonomous vehicle is new territory, according to Chris Zachar, a partner at Zachar Law Firm, a personal-injury firm based in Phoenix. "It will set consumer confidence in the technology back years, if not decades". Further, he says, "That's why Uber and Waymo test there".

Uber began testing with this type of vehicle in December 2017, in San Francisco.