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Uber pulls self-driving vehicles from the road in the wake of a fatality

The accident is the first fatality to be caused by a self-driving car
Uber had been testing self-driving cars in the Phoenix area for a few years

Uber pulled its autonomous vehicles from the road across the United States and Canada after an Uber self-driving car struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona in what is the first pedestrian death caused by one of these vehicles.

The accident, which took place late on Sunday night in suburban Tempe, is now under investigation by a team of investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and it may impede the movement to push for the quick introduction of self-driving cars, which are now being road-tested around the world.

The car was switched to so-called autonomous mode, but a driver was at the wheel when the accident took place.

“The vehicle was traveling northbound … when a female walking outside of the crosswalk crossed the road from west to east when she was struck by the Uber vehicle,” the police said in a statement.

Uber is assisting Tempe police with its investigation into the accident. “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family,” a spokeswoman for Uber said in a statement. “We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident.”

Uber along with Waymo, Google’s self-driving car arm, have had pilot programs in place in the Phoenix area of Arizona for the last few years.

Last week, executives at Waymo and Uber pushed for Congress to put in place legislation that would fast-track the introduction of self-driving cars in the United States. The legislation has been held up due to concerns over safety from a number of Democrats in Congress, and Monday’s deadly accident may delay the bill’s passage.


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