Uber Car Kills Woman In First Pedestrian Death By Self-Driving Vehicle

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Uber says it has suspended all of its self-driving testing following what is believed to be the first fatal pedestrian crash involving the vehicles.

A woman has died after she was hit by one of Uber's autonomous cars in the US.

The Volvo was in self-driving mode with a human operator behind the wheel when a woman walking outside a crosswalk in Tempe on Sunday night was hit, police said.

Uber has been testing self-driving vehicles in Tempe and Phoenix for several months.

Uber, much like the other automotive and tech companies testing self-driving technology, has repeatedly claimed that self-driving or autonomous cars will make roads safer.

Following the "accident", Uber released a statement saying that they were 'fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation'.

The National Transportation Safety Board has opened an investigation into Herzberg's death and is sending a team to Tempe, Bloomberg reported.

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"Unfortunately, inaction and indifference have grave and risky consequences for everyone", they wrote, "passengers in driverless cars, other motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and members of the disability community". No passengers were in the vehicle at the time. "We're thinking of the victim's family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened".

Last year, Uber announced it was buying 24,000 Volvo XC90s, as it moved to grow its fleet of autonomous SUVs, from 2019.

The only known death involving a self-driving auto and a driver was when Tesla driver Joshua Brown was killed in 2016 while operating the company's Autopilot software. A Uber self-driving auto was also involved in a collision in Pittsburgh last week.

Critics have expressed concern about the technology's safety, including the ability of the autonomous technology to deal with unpredictable events.

However, two Democratic U.S. senators on Thune's committee, Ed Markey of MA and Richard Blumenthal of CT, said the Uber incident demands a tough response.

Uber has been testing its driverless vehicles since August 2016 in several U.S. states, where road laws permit, as well as in Canada. It's legal in Arizona for the cars to operate without human drivers, something only a handful of states now allow.

However, in December 2017, the provincial government sought public comments on a proposal to change the pilot project to allow for driverless testing of fully autonomous vehicles.

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