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Uber suspends self-driving operations after car kills pedestrian in Arizona

20 March 2018, 04:35 | Jenny Fowler

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While in autonomous mode with a human backup driver at the wheel, an Uber operated vehicle struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona on either late Sunday or early Monday morning, March 19.

The woman, identified as 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, was taken to the hospital where she died from her injuries.

Tempe, Arizona police are investigating a deadly crash involving a self-driving Uber vehicle early Monday morning. "Some incredibly sad news out of Arizona", he said.

Uber briefly halted self-driving auto tests in San Francisco in December 2016 after the California Department of Motor Vehicles filed a cease and desist order because the company did not have proper permits.

A spokesperson for Uber stated that the company was "fully cooperating" in an investigation by authorities.

Uber is temporarily stopping its self-driving auto program after one of its vehicles fatally struck a woman in Arizona.

Police say the investigation does not at this time show significant signs of the SUV slowing before the crash. This would have been the ideal time for the autonomous driving system to bring the vehicle to a halt but, unfortunately, that didn't happen.

"The safety of our citizens here in Tempe is of the upmost importance, and we just want to make sure that our citizens are safe", Elcock said.

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A woman has died in the United States after being hit by an autonomous Uber vehicle.

The program is one of several self-driving auto initiatives active in Tempe, such as Alphabet's Waymo.

"As always we want the facts, but based on what is being reported this is exactly what we have been concerned about and what could happen if you test self-driving vehicles on city streets", said Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a Washington-based advocacy group.

Meanwhile, Waymo, the self-driving arm of Google's parent company, is launching a public self-driving vehicle service this year in the Phoenix, Arizona, area.

What's unclear is if Herzberg darted out into traffic, not giving the vehicle enough time to slowdown (or give the human driver time to take over - which should happen in the event of an emergency).

There were no passengers in the vehicle, and there was one vehicle operator in the front seat, according to an Uber spokeswoman.

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