Uber self-driving car kills pedestrian in first fatal autonomous crash
by Matt McFarland@mattmcfarland, March 19, 2018: 1:40 PM ET
Uber has removed its self-driving cars from the roads following what is believed to be the first fatality involving a fully autonomous car.
A self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she walked her bicycle across a street in Tempe, Arizona, Sunday night, according to the Tempe police. The department is investigating the crash.
Rafael Vasquez, a 44-year-old test driver from Uber, was behind the wheel of the Volvo XC90 SUV at the time, the police said.
Based on preliminary information, the car was going approximately 40 mph in a 35 mph zone, according to Tempe Police Detective Lily Duran.
Police say the investigation does not at this time show significant signs of the SUV slowing before the crash. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will determine whether charges will be filed.
“The vehicle involved is one of Uber’s self-driving vehicles,” the Tempe police said in a statement. “It was in autonomous mode at the time of the collision, with a vehicle operator behind the wheel.”
Autonomous mode means the car is driving on its own. During tests, a person sits behind the wheel as a safeguard.
Uber is conducting tests of autonomous vehicles in Arizona, Pittsburgh, Toronto and other areas. Uber said it has stopped testing the vehicles throughout the United States and Canada.