The fatal accident involving an Uber's self-driving vehicle and a pedestrian in Tempe, AZ over a week ago has called for the suspension of its public testing.
Uber's testing operations on public roads are temporarily on hold until further notice after Doug Ducey, governor of Arizona, instructed the department of transportation to ban all testing for the meantime.
According to reports, Ducey wrote a letter to Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber CEO, to talk about the video of the accident, which caused the death of one person.
Public Safety Concerns
Reports stated that the governor finds the footage of the fatal collision "disturbing and alarming," ultimately leading to the suspension of all autonomous driving tests in the state.
"Improving public safety has always been the emphasis of Arizona's approach to autonomous vehicle testing, and my expectation is that public safety is also the top priority for all who operate this technology in the state of Arizona," wrote Ducey in the letter.
"The incident that took place on March 18 is an unquestionable failure to comply with this expectation."
People Weigh In On The Incident
A quick glimpse of the footage visibly shows the Rafaela Vasquez, who was the one behind the wheel of the Uber self-driving vehicle, was continuously distracted by another activity.
Meanwhile, the 49-year-old victim Elaine Herzberg was reportedly walking with her bike loaded with bags as she crossed the dark road, as seen on the video furnished by Tempe authorities during the investigation.
The ride-hailing company's testing methods are now questioned as the accident marks the first ever recorded fatality caused by a car autonomously driven by the new technology.
Furthermore, the company confirmed that it has likewise suspended all testing of the aforementioned technology in cities like San Francisco, Toronto, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and of course, Tempe.
"We proactively suspended self-driving operations in all cities immediately following the tragic incident last week," said the firm. "We continue to help investigators in any way we can, we'll keep a dialogue open with the Governor's office going forward."
Taking An Unwanted Step Back
Prior to the Uber self-driving vehicle incident, the governor of Arizona was known for his welcome stance on the technology behind autonomous cars. Companies such as Uber were supposedly invited to try out their prototypes with minimal regulations and even went as far as allowing tests without a safety operator onboard the vehicle.
Further investigations revealed that Uber's documents show problems with the programming used by the computer-controlled vehicles. Data taken from the papers confirm that human intervention is required most of the time.