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Uber's driverless auto fatally knocks pedestrian

Self-Driving Uber Car Crashes In Arizona — Kills Pedestrian

The woman, identified as 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, was struck as she walked her bicycle across the street.

United States police say a video from the Uber self-driving auto that struck and killed a woman on Sunday shows her moving in front of it suddenly, a factor that investigators are likely to focus on as they assess the performance of the technology in the first pedestrian fatality involving an autonomous vehicle. She passed away at a nearby hospital.

The Tempe police department told NPR that the vehicle was in autonomous mode but had a human riding along to take control of the auto if necessary.

Initial investigation shows that the Uber vehicle may not be at fault, but Toyota is waiting for the final outcome of the investigation before resuming its testing.

"What is clear is that this has the potential to severely impact public perceptions of autonomous technology, and should be handled with utmost prudence by regulators, authorities, and the industry alike".

Before the incident, Toyota has been working on a plan to team up with Uber on autonomous driving.

Back in March 2017 in Tempe, one of Uber's was involved in a crash that didn't result in any serious injuries.

It's too soon to draw any conclusions from the preliminary information that has emerged, said Brian Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of SC who has studied autonomous vehicle liability.

Automakers and tech companies are evaluating whether or not to suspend their autonomous vehicle programs in the wake of the first fatality involving a self-driving vehicle, an accident that has thrust safety concerns into the spotlight.

Before coming to Arizona to test its autonomous technology, Uber ran into some issues with California's Department of Motor Vehicles regardings its permits. Among them: General Motors Co, Alphabet Inc's Waymo unit, ride services company Lyft, Ford Motor Co and others.

There was an accident in Arizona one year ago involving a self-driving Uber vehicle, but authorities found it was caused by another auto, according to the newspaper. "Because we feel the incident may have an emotional effect on our test drivers, we have chose to temporarily pause our Chauffeur mode testing on public roads".

One previous fatality involving autonomous cars, a Tesla Model S owner killed in Florida in 2016 when his auto crashed on autopilot, was blamed on the driver's inattention, but investigators highlighted design flaws in the vehicle.