Uber is pausing its autonomous car tests after a woman died in Arizona. The pedestrian was hit by a self-driving Uber vehicle.
The woman died after being hit by the self-driving car operated by the company in Tempe, Arizona. The vehicle was driving in autonomous mode with a human driver at the wheel when it struck the unnamed woman as she was crossing the street, Tempe police said.
The woman was taken to hospital but later died from her injuries.
Tests in San Francisco, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Toronto are being paused, the company told Bloomberg in an email on Monday.
“Our hearts go out to the victim’s family,” Uber said in a tweet. “We’re fully cooperating with @TempePolice and local authorities as they investigate this incident.”
The Teamsters Union issued the following statement immediately after the accident:
The Teamsters Union continues to stress its concerns with the testing and implementation of self-driving technology after a ‘driverless’ Uber in autonomous mode struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, overnight.
Uber has since temporarily halted its driverless testing program in Arizona, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto. Last year, Uber suspended the same program after a crash in Arizona. Uber is just one among a number of tech and auto industry companies competing in the driverless vehicle market.
The safety of autonomous technology is not proven, and there are many unanswered questions about how ‘driverless’ technology is supposed to operate. More than 600,000 skilled Teamsters operate trucks and other vehicles and are among the safest drivers on the road. The Teamsters Union is deeply concerned with safety and the testing of vehicles in autonomous mode on public roads and highways. It is sad and unfortunate that a life was lost in this collision. Steps must be taken to avoid these situations in the future.
Driverless technology is still in a testing phase and there are enormous risks inherent to testing unproven technologies on public roads. It is critical that pedestrians and drivers are safeguarded.