Arizona woman, hit by Uber self-driving auto, dies

Tempe police are investigating a crash involving a self-driving Uber vehicle overnight

A safety driver was sitting in the front seat of the vehicle while the car's self-driving mode was being tested by Uber, according to local police.

Disconcert has come to the fore with the revelation that a self driving Uber vehicle hit and killed an Arizona pedestrian as 49 year old woman, Elaine Herzberg was crossing the road. It has also been reported earlier this month that the Governor of Arizona updated an executive order to allow a self-driving auto to operate on state roads without a safety driver behind the wheel.

Uber had planned a media event Thursday at its Tempe facility to show off its fleet, offer rides, and have engineers talk about the push to have vehicles operate on their own.

ABC15 Arizona reports the woman, named as 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, was walking outside of the crosswalk when the accident happened.

An Uber spokesperson said they are aware of the incident and are cooperating with authorities. "We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident", said Sarah Abboud, spokeswoman for Uber.

The Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi also posted a tweet on Monday saying: "Some incredibly sad news out of Arizona". Uber suspended its testing in March 2017 after one of its autonomous cars was involved in an accident. "Our city leadership and Tempe Police will pursue any and all answers to what happened in order to ensure safety moving forward".

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Uber Canada said Monday in an email that two of its vehicles are being tested in Toronto but they have not been picking up passengers.

The US National Transportation Safety Board sent a team to Tempe to investigate the accident.

A spokesman for Uber Technologies Inc said the company was suspending its North American tests. "It will set consumer confidence in the technology back years if not decades".

'Why do we even need self driving cars?

Depending on who is found to be at fault, the accident could have far-reaching consequences for the development of self-driving vehicles, which have been billed as potentially safer than human drivers.

Researchers and engineers are working on the technology now to try to get it to that level of efficiency. Uber was also testing its self-driving truck on Arizona roads as well.

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