Update 3: Tempe Police confirmed in a press conference that the Uber vehicle was traveling at around 40mph (with no signs yet that it was slowing down) when it struck the pedestrian.
The “driver” of the vehicle was Rafael Vasquez, 44, Tempe PD says he was not impaired.
There were no signs of impairment in the victim, Elaine Herzberg, 49, who Tempe Police says they “believe she may have been” homeless.
The police confirmed they have video of the Uber accident, which will not be released, and the county attorney is deciding whether to file charges.
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Update 2: Peter Kurdock, director of regulatory affairs for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety in Washington, called the Arizona crash tragic.
The group sent a letter Monday to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao saying it is concerned about a lack of action and oversight by the department as autonomous vehicles are developed. That letter was planned before the crash.
Kurdock said the deadly accident should serve as a “startling reminder” to members of Congress that they need to “think through all the issues to put together the best bill they can to hopefully prevent more of these tragedies from occurring.”
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Update 1: Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted of the “incredibly sad news”…
Some incredibly sad news out of Arizona. We’re thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened. https://t.co/cwTCVJjEuz
— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) March 19, 2018
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As we detailed earlier, Tempe, Arizona police report that a self-driving Uber vehicle was in autonomous mode when it was involved in a deadly crash overnight.
As ABC15 reports, the crash occurred near Mill Avenue and Curry Road early Monday morning.
The Uber vehicle was reportedly headed northbound when a woman walking outside of the crosswalk was struck.
The woman was taken to the hospital where she died from her injuries.
Tempe Police says the vehicle was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash and a vehicle operator was also behind the wheel.
Police added in a statement that the woman’s “next of kin has not been notified yet so her name is not being released at this time. Uber is assisting and this is still an active investigation.”
In a brief statement from an Uber spokesperson, they confirm:
“We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident.”
And Bloomberg reports that Uber will now halt all autonomous car-testing in all cities (including San Francisco, Phoenix, and Pittsburgh).
Two questions come to mind – was the women crossing the road on Facebook at the time (Zuckerberg’s fault) and/or was the car hacked by Russia? (Putin’s fault).
This is the first pedestrian killed by an autonomous vehicle.
As Tiffany Li – (@tiffanycli) notes, who should be liable for this death? Uber? The car manufacturer? The software programmers? Tech lawyers have debated this question for decades. If this goes to trial, we’ll soon have an answer.
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