Self-driving Uber car kills pedestrian

One of Uber’s autonomous cars

In a historic first for the self-driving car industry, a woman in Arizona has died after being hit by a self-driving car, operated by Uber.

It is the first known death of a pedestrian struck by an autonomous vehicle on public roads.

The Uber vehicle was operating in autonomous mode with a human safety driver behind the wheel when it hit the woman.

The woman was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, according to a statement from Tempe Police.

Uber said it had suspended testing of its self-driving cars in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

“Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident,” an Uber spokeswoman, Sarah Abboud, said in a statement.

The fatal crash will most likely raise questions about regulations for self-driving cars. 

States are starting to allow companies to test cars without a safety person in the driver’s seat – this month, California said that, it would start allowing companies to test autonomous vehicles without anyone behind the wheel.

Arizona already allows self-driving cars to operate without a driver behind the wheel. The state has promised that it would help keep the driverless car industry free from regulation. Consequently, technology companies have flocked to Arizona to test their self-driving vehicles.

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