Authorities have identified the woman believed to be the first pedestrian killed by a self-driving car.
The Tempe, Arizona police department said 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg died after a self-driving Uber vehicle crashed into her as she crossed the road. While an operator was behind the wheel, the vehicle was in autonomous mode.
Uber announced that it would suspend its self-driving car tests, saying in a statement that it was working with authorities and that “our hearts go out to the victim's family”.
The accident seemed all but certain to renew fears that safety hazards remain as companies scramble to scale up autonomous driving technology.
Steady advancements in autonomous vehicle technology have seen self-driving cars log millions of miles on public roads and, in some cities, ferry customers in pilot programmes.
As technology and legacy automobile companies have competed to dominate the emerging self-driving car industry, Arizona has touted itself as a laboratory for the technology.
Governor Doug Ducey has enthusiastically promoted his state’s role. A press release from his office announcing new regulations earlier this month called Arizona “ the home for testing of self-driving vehicles” and boasted that the state was “recognized as a leader in welcoming new technology and innovations”.
Following Arizona’s lead, California announced earlier this month that it would issue its first permits for self-driving vehicles without backup drivers onboard.
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