The autonomous vehicle industry has suffered a severe blow after a test vehicle owned by Uber was involved in fatal accident.
On Sunday evening 49 year old Elaine Herzberg from Tempe, Arizona was struck by a Volvo XC90 which was reportedly in autonomous mode with an operator behind the wheel.
She was rushed to a hospital but passed away due to her injuries.
Following the accident Uber has suspended all of its autonomous operations in Arizona, San Francisco, and Toronto.
Uber said it would co-operate with authorities as they investigated the incident.
Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We’re fully cooperating with @TempePolice and local authorities as they investigate this incident.
— Uber Comms (@Uber_Comms) March 19, 2018
Based on preliminary findings Tempe police told the San Francisco Chronicle that it would have been hard to avoid the collision whether the car was being driven by a human or a machine.
“It’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway,” said Tempe Police chief Sylvia Moir.
The driver reportedly told police that the incident happened quickly and Moir reports that the first alert the driver had of the collision was when it happened.
All of this said the Uber car was driving at 38mph (61kph) in a 35mph (56kph) and police say it made no indications of slowing down.
Moir added that she suspects Uber might not be at fault here but the same cannot be said for the backup driver.