Following the fatal crash in Tempe last week, Uber has been suspended from testing its autonomous vehicles in Arizona by the state’s Republican Governor, Doug Ducey. That’s according to the Associated Press, which says Ducey on Monday send a letter to the company’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, raising concerns about the safety and efficacy of these vehicles. According to him, the video of the fatal crash “raises many questions about the ability of Uber to continue testing in Arizona”.
Following the tragedy, Uber had voluntarily suspended all testing pending an investigation by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
As can be seen in the letter embedded in the tweet of local journalist, Bianca Buono (@BiancaBuono), Gov. Ducey called out Uber for its ‘unquestionable failure’ to comply with the basic rules of public safety, and said that it is in “the best interests of the people” to stop the testing of these vehicles in the state pending further investigation.
According to him, “Improving public safety has always been Arizona’s approach to autonomous vehicle testing, and my expectation is that public safety is also the top priority for all who operate this technology”.
The incident, a video of which has since been released by the police, occurred on the night of March 18, when 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg was struck by an Uber self-driving car and succumbed to the injury. Many experts have opined that the combination of the software and the infrared cameras should have been able to spot the pedestrian in spite of the darkness on the road. It is believed to be the first death caused by a self-driving vehicle from any company, although, minor crashes have been a regular occurrence in the testing phase.