Uber Self-Driving Car Involved in World’s First Fatal Pedestrian Crash

Autonomous Volvo XC90 involved in Tempe crash 1 photo
Photo: ABC15 Arizona
Self-driving vehicles have once again come under the spotlight following an incident on Monday in Tempe, Arizona, involving an Uber self-driving car.
According to initial reports by police, the car, a Volvo XC90, was running in autonomous mode, with a human driver present, when it struck a woman on at the intersection of Mill Avenue and Curry Road in Tempe.

As a result of her injuries, the woman later died at the hospital, becoming the first pedestrian to be killed in a crash involving a self-driving vehicle.

In response to the incident, Uber announced it had suspended all autonomous vehicle operations in Pittsburgh, Tempe, San Francisco and Toronto.

The incident is currently under investigation by local police, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

According to initial findings, the SUV was driving in autonomous mode at 38 mph in a 35 mph zone, but even so, the police are inclined, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, to blame the woman.

After analyzing images from nearby cameras, it appears the 49-year old victim was pushing a bicycle from the center median into a lane of traffic when she got struck. Uber’s car did not make any attempt to brake, nor did the driver intervene.

“It’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any mode based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway,” local chief of police Sylvia Moir was quoted as saying by the source.

“It is dangerous to cross roadways in the evening hour when well-illuminated managed crosswalks are available.”

Uber representatives did not make any comments yet other than they are working with authorities to get to the bottom of the incident.

“Some incredibly sad news out of Arizona,”
tweeted Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. “We’re thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened.”

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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