The Uber vehicle was carrying out field testing of its autonomous driving technology when the vehicle hit and killed a pedestrian crossing a street, Sunday night, in Tempe, Arizona, USA. The car was reportedly traveling at 40mph, local police say the modified XC90 did not slow down when it hit Elaine Herzberg who was walking with her bike as she made her way across a pedestrian walkway.
Uber immediately suspended all pilot tests across multiple locations and is currently cooperating with the Arizona state police. The National Transportation Safety Board also announced it will begin investigations.
This isn’t the first time an Uber autonomous test vehicle has been involved in a crash, when the company began primary testing in February 2017 one of its self-driving vehicles was involved in a crash in March 2017, the location? Tempe, Arizona.
An investigation found that Uber was not at fault and field testing resumed. But this latest incident is very serious, it is perhaps an insight into the future and the future does not look perfect because it marks the first time such technology has caused a fatality.
The Arizona state passed an executive order in March of this year that makes companies testing self-driving vehicles liable should a test vehicle kill road users or pedestrians. Will authorities put the blame on the victim or the operator of the Uber vehicle?
Recently the US Congress was considering a bill that would increase, too many thousands, the number of self-driving vehicles allowed to test in an open public environment. This incident with Uber will surely dent public perception and acceptance of the technology.
Volvo, who have been working closely with Uber and supplied the XC90 that killed the pedestrian, said in a statement that it was notified of the incident.
Moreover, both companies have actuaries who do plan for such fatalities, on paper, it’s a cost-benefit measurement and management of risk analysis.
In real terms an individual has lost their life for the future convenience of the human race, Volvo and Uber will move on, pay-off the family (compensation) and move to protect their future investment.
This death isn’t for the benefit of human-kind its to ensure Uber and Volvo make money off its investment. This is cold calculated corporate greed. Herzberg just got in the way.