Arizona Has Chilly Response to Uber After Self-Driving Crash

Collision-avoidance tech disabled before deadly crash
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2018 1:51 AM CDT
In this March 20, 2018, photo provided by the National Transportation Safety Board, investigators examine a driverless Uber SUV that fatally struck a woman in Tempe, Ariz.   (National Transportation Safety Board via AP)
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(Newser) – Uber voluntarily pulled its self-driving cars from Arizona roads after a fatal accident earlier this month but when—or if—they return will be up to the state. Gov. Doug Ducey ordered the suspension of the company's self-driving car test program Monday, accusing Uber of not putting public safety first, the Arizona Republic reports. "Improving public safety has always been the emphasis of 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 in the state of Arizona," but the March 18 accident in Tempe marks an "unquestionable failure to comply with this expectation," Ducey said in a letter to Uber.

The accident killed a 49-year-old woman who was pushing a bike across a busy road outside a crosswalk at night. Ducey described a video of the incident as "disturbing and alarming," though it's not clear whether a human driver could have avoided hitting the woman. Aptiv, which supplied the standard collision-avoidance technology for the Volvo SUV involved, says Uber had disabled the technology in the vehicle, possibly as part of testing for its own program. "We don't want people to be confused or think it was a failure of the technology that we supply for Volvo, because that’s not the case," spokesman Zach Peterson tells Bloomberg.

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