In sad news an Uber autonomous driverless car was involved in a collision with a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. The lady was taken to hospital and later died of her injuries. This is believed to be the first time an autonomous self driving car has been involved in an accident where a pedestrian was killed, although a Tesla driver was killed in 2016, allegedly when he didn’t keep his hands on the wheel as he was advised to do.
Uber have pulled all their autonomous self driving cars off the road and in a statement on twitter said “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We’re fully cooperating with @TempePolice and local authorities as they investigate this incident.”
Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We’re fully cooperating with @TempePolice and local authorities as they investigate this incident.
— Uber Comms (@Uber_Comms) March 19, 2018
It’s hard to see how this will affect the driverless car industry, of which there are many players. The manufacturers often claim that they will cut road deaths as technology is more reliable than humans and unable to become tired or distracted. However this incident will doubtless give fuel to activists who disbelieve the safety claims or simply don’t want to see drivers’ jobs taken over by robot cars.
In this incident there was a human driver in the car who’s role was to take over in an emergency. Quite what the legal situation is hasn’t ever been tested – is the driver responsible or will the companies who manufactured the car or supplied the software be deemed to be at fault. Either way it’s terribly sad and our thoughts go out to the victim’s family.