Uber Fatal Self-Driving Crash: Ducey Suspends Testing Privileges

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Uber Fatal Self-Driving Crash: Ducey Suspends Testing Privileges

“I have directed the Arizona Department of Transportation to suspend Uber’s ability to test” self-driving cars, Ducey wrote the company.


March 27, 2018


PHOENIX, AZ – One week after an Uber self-driving car struck and killed a pedestrian, Gov. Ducey has suspended the company from any further testing of the vehicles in the state. The company had voluntarily suspended their use of self-driving vehicles hours after the fatal crash.

On March 18, an Uber vehicle in self-driving – or “autonomous” – mode, struck and killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg in Tempe.

Tempe police released video of the incident last week showing it from one camera showing Herzberg and one camera showing the human “driver” who was there as a backup.

“I found the video to be disturbing and alarming,” Ducey wrote to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. “It raises mant questions about the ability of Uber to continue testing in Arizona.

“Arizona will not tolerate any less than an unequivocal commitment to public safety.”

Uber quickly responded, pointing out that they immediately stopped using the self=driving vehicles, not just in Arizona but in Nevada and Michigan as well.

“We proactively suspended self-driving operations in all cities immediately following the tragic incident last week,” the company said in a statement.

“We continue to help investigators in any way we can, and we’ll keep a dialogue open with the Governor’s office to address any concerns they have.”

Ducey has been criticized for his efforts to make Arizona a destination for companies to test self-driving cars. In addition to Uber, Waymo, Intel, and others have set up shop there.

Part of Ducey’s pitch to companies was that Arizona had fewer regulatory demands on the companies, something that helped lure Uber from California.

“Arizona has been the wild west of robot car testing with virtually no regulations in place,” Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy and Technology Project Director John Simpson said.

“That’s why Uber and Waymo test there. When there’s no sheriff in town, people get killed.”

Meanwhile, different investigations move forward into the fatal crash.

Tempe Police as well as investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are examining the crash from a variety of angles including trying to determine if Uber’s technology failed and whether the human “driver” should have done something to prevent the crash.

As part of the investigation, the three agencies last week recreated the crash.

Consumer Watchdog
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