Published: Tue, March 27, 2018
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

Do you trust driverless car technology?

Do you trust driverless car technology?

And it's not just a matter of being behind - Wakabayashi says Uber's driverless auto project is central to the company's future.

Arizona governor Doug Ducey has suspended Uber from testing its driverless cars in the USA state after a woman was killed by one of the company's self-driving vehicles.

If that is the case, it may more raise questions with Uber's hiring decisions than this particular accident.

"I found the video the be disturbing and alarming, and it raises many questions about the ability of Uber to continue testing in Arizona", wrote Gov. Ducey, in reference to a video Tempe Police released last week, showing the moments, inside and outside of the self-driving auto, leading up to the deadly crash.

Uber had voluntarily halted testing companywide after one of its vehicles hit and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona.

It was reportedly the first fatality in the us involving a self-driving vehicle.

Authorities investigating the crash in a Phoenix suburb released the video of Uber's Volvo striking a woman as she walked from a darkened area onto a street.

The driver can be seen looking down at something for almost five seconds before finally gazing up the instant before the auto hit a woman in the city of Tempe.

The incident, which led to Herzberg's death, has prompted questions about whether a person prone to distractions is the best fail-safe option for a vehicle with technology created to recognize pedestrians in time to stop and avoid accidents like the one in Tempe. Waymo began ferrying passengers in Arizona last year, without safety drivers behind the wheel, and is planning a paid robo-taxi service this year.

The letter strikes a dramatically different tone from late 2016, when Mr Ducey invited Uber to his state with celebration, saying "Arizona welcomes Uber self-driving cars with open arms and wide open roads".

The incident, which made worldwide headlines has served as a lightning rod for debates around safety and culpability for the technology and its testing regimes, with commentators analysing everything from the design of the accident site to the underlying assumptions of a human supervising an autonomous system as a safeguard.

In Arizona, companies such as Uber only need to carry minimum liability insurance to operate self-driving cars.

Yet Uber's test drivers were being asked to do more - going on solo runs when they had worked in pairs.

The incident, Ducey said, "is an unquestionable failure to comply" with the expectation of public safety being a "top priority for all who operate this technology in the state". The company is regretting this and said that many test drivers are under emotional tragedy henceforth they have to pause the test drive on public roads. An investigation into the accident by Uber and law enforcement is ongoing. This happened in the same month that instructions were given regarding the replacement of autonomous cars with human drivers.

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