Uber has said that it is the suspension of the self-driving car tests in cities all over North America after a deadly accident.
49-year-old woman was struck by a car while she was crossing the street in Tempe, Arizona.
Although self-driving cars have been involved in several accidents, it is thought to be the first time an autonomous car has been involved in a fatal collision.
Uber said its “thoughts are with the family of the victim.”
“We are fully cooperating with the @TempePolice and local authorities as they investigate this incident,” the company said in a statement on Twitter.
The end of the Twitter post by @Uber_Comms
The Police said that the accident occurred on Sunday evening, while the car was in autonomous mode. A human monitor was also behind the wheel.
Police said the woman, Elaine Herzberg, had not been using a crosswalk. Herzberg was taken to a local hospital, where she died.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board has said that they have sent teams to Tempe.Wake up
Companies such as Ford, General Motors, Tesla and Waymo invest heavily in research to develop self-driving cars, which are often characterized as the future of the industry and is praised as a means of reducing traffic accidents.
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Many states across America have hailed the tests in the hope of keeping at the forefront of new technologies.
However, there have been warnings that the technology is being deployed before it is ready.
Anthony Foxx, who has served as Secretary of Transportation under former President Barack Obama, called the accident a “wake-up of the whole of the [autonomous vehicle] industry and the government attach great importance to security.”
More than a dozen U.S. states allow autonomous vehicles on the roads to a certain degree. Employees usually need a person to be on hand in the car or at a distance in case something goes wrong, according to the Center for Automotive Research.
The US is working on national safety guidelines for these vehicles.
Consumer Watchdog, a pressure group that has warned against the risks of autonomous cars, on Monday called for a moratorium of these vehicles on the public roads, describing the accident as a “tragedy, we are fighting years to prevent.”
“We hope that our call for real regulation of cars without driver will be taken seriously in the future by the Silicon Valley and the Trumpet of the Administration,” the group wrote on Twitter.
Uber has begun testing driverless cars in Pittsburgh in 2016. The ride-hailing company has also been testing driverless cars in San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and the Phoenix area which includes Tempe.
The death comes a year after Uber has taken its self-driving cars off the road following an accident that left a Volvo SUV on the side in Arizona. The program was then restored.
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Carla Bailo, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Automotive Research, said more information on how the accident happened is necessary before the officials could say what happened and how the self-driving system should be improved.
She also stated that the death should be considered in the context of all accidents.
More than 37 000 people, including nearly 6 000 pedestrians, died in traffic accidents in the united states in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“We need to be fair and look at all the data,” she said. “But I don’t think anyone is taking it lightly. By measure of safety is the first concern.
Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said he supports the autonomous car tests due to the potential of the technology. He also praised Uber’s decision to suspend the program of “responsible”.
“Our city leadership and the Tempe Police will be ready at any and all responses to what happened in order to ensure the safety going forward,” he said.