Uber Will Stop Testing Self-Driving Cars in Arizona After Fatal Crash

Donna Miller
May 25, 2018

However, after the self-driving vehicle crash in Tempe, Ducey said he was suspending all of Uber's autonomous tests on state roads.

Uber had previously suspended all testing in response to the March 18 incident, when a woman crossing outside of a crosswalk was struck and killed in Tempe, Arizona.

An Uber employee was sitting in the driver's seat but the vehicle was operating in autonomous mode near Mill Avenue and Curry Road in Tempe.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto was an early champion of Uber moving to Pittsburgh, and then of Uber testing autonomous vehicles here.

Uber said it has had on-going with city and state officials and is aware of the new expectations and requirements facing the company when it returns to testing in Pittsburgh. Former NTSB chairman Christopher Hart has also been brought aboard to advise on Uber's overall safety culture.

Uber spokeswoman Stephanie Sedlak says the decision does not impact 550 other Arizona employees.

The Information cited two sources familiar with the situation that Uber itself believes its self-driving software that chooses how to react when it detects objects in the roadway is the cause of the fatal incident. Uber said it will provide outplacement services, such as resume building and interview prep.

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The company is shutting down testing operations in Arizona and focusing instead on testing in Pittsburgh and San Francisco, according to an internal email from Eric Meyhofer, a Carnegie Mellon University graduate and the head of Uber's self-driving vehicle operations.

Toronto is only one of several Ontario cities that are hosting limited tests of increasingly autonomous vehicles being conducted by several companies in what's being promoted as the next major step in automotive technology. Those incidences - where something like trash or leaves are wrongly identified as dangers that the auto must avoid - can lead to jerky driving, as the vehicle is overly cautious. Ducey took the state's first self-driving Uber ride in February 2017, and added the line that "California may not want you, but Arizona does".

Uber announced it will begin "winding down" its self-driving operations in Arizona.

Uber Executive Director Eric Meihofer said that the company will change the way testing their unmanned vehicles.

Uber had a good relationship with Arizona in the past.

The video footage of Uber's collision with a pedestrian shows the auto made no attempt to swerve or slow down.

In a statement, Uber said its self-driving cars will return to Pittsburgh this summer.

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