A test driver was behind the wheel at the time of the accident
Uber is facing a serious problem with its autonomous vehicle project after one of its self-driving vehicles killed a 49-year-old woman. On Sunday night, Elaine Herzberg was walking down the street at Tempe, Arizona when a self-driving Volvo XC90 SUV crashed her. According to the Tempe police department, Herzberg was killed after she got stuck by the SUV which was driving in autonomous mode.
Reports say that Rafael Vasquez, the uber test driver who was testing the car was sitting behind the wheel at the time of accident. The speed of the SUV was recorded 40 mph in the zone limited to 35 mph. The investigation is going on and the police said it was found that the car was not slowed down before the crash. Along with Tempe Police department, the National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the crash.
During the test of a self-driving vehicle a test driver sits behind the wheel to make sure nothing goes wrong, However, the car drives itself while it's in the autonomous mode and the case was similar with Uber SUV at the time of the accident. Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber-CEO also responded to the crash by tweeting, “Some incredibly sad news out of Arizona. We’re thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened”. Uber officials said that currently there is no self-driving car test being conducted in the US and Canada. However, the company is testing some of the autonomous-vehicle in Arizona, Toronto, Pittsburgh, and some other areas. Uber is cooperating with the local police department for the investigation.
Uber isn't the only one that is testing its autonomous vehicle in Arizona, Google’s self-driving vehicle department Waymo, Cruise from GM, and Intel are also working on their projects in the state. Google is also planning to launch its public self-driving vehicle this year in Arizona. However, this Uber self-driving SUV accident has raised a question about the technology and its future. Most of the tech giants including Apple is working to put the self-driving cars on the roads of the US by 2020.