Uber’s Self-Driving Car Causes Death On The Road; All Tests Suspended

The technology behind self-driving cars is only a decade old, and various tests are still being carried out to find the feasibility of the whole concept.

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Uber's Self-Driving Car Causes Accident

Self-driving cars have been hailed as the next major revolution in the automobile industry, ever since Henry Ford introduced the modern, compact cars.

The technology behind self-driving cars is only a decade old, and various tests are still being carried out to find the feasibility of the whole concept.

Even as tech enthusiasts and automobile oracles are predicting the next wave of revolution with self-driving cars, the pace and the energy has come to a grinding halt, due to an unfortunate incident in Arizona, USA.

A self-driving car which was being used by Uber for testing the self-driving technology has killed a pedestrian on a street in Tempe, Arizona.

Tech industry and automobile innovators are in shock, as this has been declared as the first such death of a pedestrian, during the test of self-driving cars.

Uber has immediately suspended all such tests, which were being carried over in Arizona, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

What will be the future of self-driven cars now?

Self-Driving Car Accident & Death

Elaine Herzberg, a 49-year-old woman from Tempe, Arizona was cycling on the street when she was hit by Uber’s Volvo XC90 sports utility vehicle, which has been equipped with advanced sensing technology for self-driving.

The SUV was northbound, and Elaine was crossing the street on her bicycle.

After the accident, Elaine was rushed to the hospital, where she died due to the injuries sustained in the accident.

As per preliminary investigation, it was revealed by Sgt. Ronald Elcock, a Tempe police spokesman that Uber vehicle was moving at 40 miles/hour, which is the permissible speed.

Uber has expressed their deepest condolence and regret over this incident.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted:

“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”

In a statement, Uber said,

“Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident.”

Are Self-Driven Vehicles Safe Enough?

Note here, that the Uber vehicle had a human safety driver at the wheel, in order to shut down the self-driving mode in case of an emergency. But, it seems that the whole episode happened so fast, that, even the human driver behind the vehicle was not able to avoid it.

This has prompted several lawmakers and experts to re-ignite the debate against self-driving cars, and how it can turn into killing machines on the road.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut said,

“This tragic incident makes clear that autonomous vehicle technology has a long way to go before it is truly safe for the passengers, pedestrians, and drivers who share America’s roads,”

As of now, in the last 10 years, Waymo, which is Google’s self-driving car project has driven more than 5 million miles in self-driving mode, while Uber’s self-driven cars project has driven around 3 million miles.

There are a bunch of other self-driven car projects going around, including Tesla, Lyft and Cruise, an autonomous vehicle company owned by General Motors. Overall, not more than 10 million miles must have been tested under the self-driven mode.

Last year, a Tesla driver died while driving his car in auto mode. The Court, however, ruled that Tesla had no fault here, as the driver chose the dangerous route.

Do you think self-driving cars need more tests? Or their future is doomed?

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