Toyota has suspended its self-driving car program, which has been testing vehicles on roads all over the United States. Toyota's move comes in the wake of Uber's deadly collision on March 18 that cost the life of a woman crossing the street.
Toyota says it has done this out of respect for the test drivers it currently employs.
Suspension After Fatal Collision
Toyota has been testing self-driving cars in Ann Arbor, Michigan, around the San Francisco area, and Japan, but those programs have been temporarily suspended by the company. Toyota says that it has given its test drivers some time off so that the company can assess the situation after an Uber self-driving car struck a woman, leading to her death.
It will still be using its own enclosed areas to test self-driving cars, but at the moment, they're not being tested in public streets. It has two test sites in Ann Arbor that are affiliated with the University of Michigan. It also has another test site at a former naval weapons station in Concord, California.
Different automakers are still going through with their plans to keep testing self-driving cars. Ford Motor and General Motors will continue to test their self-driving cars in public streets. BMW expressed sympathy for the victim of the collision but has said that this will not affect its plans to continue to test self-driving cars.
Companies such as Waymo, Lyft, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo have declined to comment on the situation Uber is currently in.
On March 18, Elaine Herzberg was struck by an Uber self-driving Volvo XC90 when she was crossing the street with her bicycle. Uber equips its self-driving cars with radar, cameras, and sensors to detect obstacles on the road and slow down in time. During this collision, the self-driving car didn't slow down and seemed to hit the woman at 40 miles per hour.
This is the first death of a pedestrian caused by a self-driving car. Police in Tempe are still investigating the incident by reviewing the data from the car and the video of the collision. There was a human operator behind the wheel of the car when the crash happened, but the car was still in autonomous mode.
It's still not clear how the collision will affect the self-driving car industry. Many companies are racing to be the first on the market with a self-driving car.