Autonomous vehicle technology continues to evolve in its sophistication and scope. Uber is one of many companies that have been testing the technology for their own purposes. But in March, an Uber-operated autonomous vehicle that had an emergency backup driver behind the wheel hit and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, marking what is believed to be the first pedestrian death associated with autonomous vehicle technology.
Since the crash, Uber has halted all its testing of self-driving vehicles in cities such as Tempe, San Francisco, Toronto and Pittsburgh. It serves as yet another reminder that while self-driving vehicles may be the norm in the future, there is still a long way to go in fine-tuning the technology before it becomes ubiquitous.
How did the accident happen?
The vehicle was a Volvo CX90 outfitted with Uber’s sensing system. It was in autonomous mode at the time, but there was a human safety driver behind the wheel. The car did not show signs of slowing down before impact and the driver was not impaired, but later evidence showed the driver was not paying attention to the road.
Weather was not a factor — it was a clear and dry Arizona day. In fact, the state is considered an ideal climate for the testing of autonomous vehicles due to its wide roads and dry weather. The state is a regulation-free zone, which was set up to attract testing from companies like Uber and Lyft.
For more information on the legal issues associated with autonomous vehicles in an accident scenario, speak with a knowledgeable Bradenton personal injury attorney at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.