An autonomous Volvo XC90 struck and killed a bicyclist in Tempe, Arizona – Uber has suspending all testing while investigation unfolds
Late Sunday night, one of Uber’s self-driving vehicles testing in Tempe, Arizona was involved in a fatal crash. According to ABC15, a local station, the accident occurred at about 10 P.M. Sunday night. A 49-year old bicyclist was crossing the street when the car failed to stop and struck her. While she was immediately taken to a hospital, she ultimately succumbed to her wounds and died as a result of the collision. A person was behind the wheel of the car – a Volvo XC90 – but was not in control of the car when the accident happened. Arizona state law does not require human occupants in the car while testing.
Uber is agreeing to cooperate with Tempe Police as they investigate the incident. In the meantime, they’ve also suspending testing in Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto – everywhere they’re currently testing. Uber has been testing in the Phoenix area since February 2017. There was one earlier incident, after Arizona allowed autonomous testing, where a driver failed to yield to a self-driving Uber and crashed into it. The Uber rolled onto its side, but no one was injured in that particular crash.
This accident, however, may change the atmosphere surrounding Uber’s autonomous testing regime. This fatal incident may cause Arizonans to scrutinize the state’s relatively open policy to self-driving cars on public roads. At this point in time, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company – Alphabet, Inc. – also tests self-driving cars in the state.
What could this mean for autonomous cars in on public streets in the near future? Let us know what you think in the comments.