Woman hit by Uber SUV was walking bicycle

Glen Norman
March 20, 2018

Uber says it has suspended its autonomous vehicle programme across the United States and Canada after a woman was killed by a self-driving auto in Arizona.

She died of her injuries at a hospital.

The vehicle struck 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg while she was walking outside of a crosswalk, Tempe police said in a statement. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey originally welcomed new technology declaring, "Arizona welcomes Uber self-driving cars with open arms and wide open roads".

Uber said it has stopped testing autonomous vehicles throughout the United States and Canada as a result of the incident.

In a tweet, Uber expressed its condolences and said the company was fully co-operating with authorities. National Transportation Safety Board officials also confirmed that they would be sending a team to Arizona for the ongoing investigation on social media.

The vehicle involved in the incident was a Volvo XC90 SUV.

There were no passengers in the Uber vehicle.

An experimental Autonomous Vehicle of the Uber company hit a pedestrian today causing her death.

A brief statement released by the company said: "Our hearts go out to the victim's family".

Since January 2016, Ontario has allowed the testing of autonomous vehicles on provincial roads. "The whole goal of autonomous driving is to make the operation of vehicles safer because you take out of equation the random, unpredictable behaviour of human operators, like speeding to get through an amber light or taking your eyes off the road to pick up a coffee cup".

Uber reportedly began testing self-driving cars in Tempe in February 2017.

Arizona is a hotbed of self-driving auto development.

Uber has been testing the self-driving vehicles in Tempe and Phoenix for months. Although consumers have placed high levels of trust into self-driving technologies, this event could be a major setback to acceptance of autonomous vehicles.

Facing negative press over not complying with California's regulations, Uber described its technology as an "Advanced Driver Assist System" that should not be subject to self-driving regulations because a human tester would still be sitting in the driver's seat.

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