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Self-driving Uber vehicle involved in fatal collision in Arizona

A SELF-DRIVING Uber vehicle has been involved in a fatal collision in Arizona.

A female pedestrian was struck by the autonomous vehicle, according to reports, and she was taken to hospital where she later died from her injuries.

The incident occurred near Mill Avenue and Curry Road on Monday morning in Tempe, Arizona, local police have confirmed. The Uber vehicle, which was in “autonomous mode” with a safety driver behind the wheel at the time of the collision, was headed northbound when a woman walking outside of the crosswalk was struck.  

Police have identified the victim as 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg.

Uber said in a statement on Twitter: “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident.” 

The company also confirmed that it would be pausing its self-driving car operations in Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO tweeted: “Some incredibly sad news out of Arizona. We’re thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened.”

If the death was caused as a result of an error by Uber’s driverless car software, it would be the first such death in the United States. 

In July 2016, Tesla’s Autopilot software was found to have played a “major role” in the death of Tesla driver Joshua Brown after failing to see the white side of a tractor-trailer that had pulled out across the highway.

Tesla said at the time: “Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor-trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied.”

However, the US National Transport Safety Board – which has opened an investigation into Monday’s fatal crash – suggested that Brown had “at least 10 seconds” to notice the truck and to apply the brakes, but eyewitnesses have claimed that Brown was watching a DVD at the time of the accident. µ

Source : Inquirer

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