A woman died crossing a road in Arizona after she took a hit from a self-driving Uber car, the local police reported Monday. 49 years old Elaine Herzberg was walking her bicycle on a four-lane road when she was hit by the Uber car travelling at nearly 40 miles per hour. She was admitted in a hospital, but later passed away due to her injuries. The Volvo XC90 SUV was in autonomous mode and there was an operator behind the wheel.
This was the first time an autonomous vehicle got involved in a fatality. The incident could possibly raise safety concerns among general public regarding self-driving cars.
Uber decided to suspend self-driving cars tests currently going on Arizona, Toronto and Pittsburgh following the incident. U.S legislators have been discussing law that would accelerate introduction of autonomous cars. Commenting on the incident, Democratic Senator Edward Markey said this tragic news highlights why we need to be extremely careful while testing and bringing autonomous car technologies on streets.
Self-driving vehicles being tested usually get into minor touching with other vehicles. Last year, Uber momentarily grounded its autonomous vehicles after a crash with another car in Tempe. There were also a number of complaints filed against the company.