Uber Technologies Inc. has halted its autonomous vehicle tests after one of its cars struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona, in what can be said is the first pedestrian fatality involving the self-driving technology. According to the Tempe Police Department, the crash occurred near Mill Avenue and Curry Road early Monday morning; the Uber vehicle was headed northbound when a woman identified as a 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg walking across the street was struck by the vehicle. The woman was taken to the hospital where she later died from her injuries.
Uber while confirming the news through one of its spokespersons said that the vehicle was travelling in autonomous mode with a safety driver behind the wheel during the crash. In his words, he said “the female safety driver was the only person inside the vehicle at the time of the crash and did not sustain any injury.” Although the company declined to disclose any additional details about the driver’s identity or qualifications, the spokesperson further in his statement said the ride-hailing company are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted his condolences to the family of the victim.
This wasn’t the first crash involving one of Uber’s self-driving cars in Tempe; almost a year ago, a self-driving Uber was knocked onto its side after another vehicle failed to yield and hit it but there were no injuries during the incident.
Although the vehicle is still in police possession, data from the vehicle’s many cameras and sensors will no doubt prove useful to investigators when determining the cause of the crash.