Uber Self-Driving Car Crash Video Earns Arizona Suspension

Arizona governor says crash video convinced him to suspend Uber's self-driving car testing.

Uber Self-Driving Car Crash Video Earns Arizona Suspension

Posted in News

— An Uber self-driving car crash video has convinced Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to suspend Uber's ability to test autonomous vehicles in the state.

In a letter to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, the governor says he "found the video to be disturbing and alarming, and it raises many questions about the ability of Uber to continue testing in Arizona."

The video shows a self-driving Volvo SUV equipped with Uber autonomous technology as it hits and runs over 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg walking her bike across the street outside the crosswalk lane.

Based on the crash video, the self-driving Uber never braked or took any evasive action even though lasers, radar, cameras and sensors should have easily spotted the woman and automatically applied the brakes of the SUV. Although a human driver was behind the wheel, video shows the driver was unaware of the crash until it occurred.

Uber had already suspended its self-driving road testing in all areas of the U.S. and Canada, but the latest move by Arizona will block the company from testing in the state until Ducey gives the green light.

The governor's letter informs Uber that safety is the top priority, but those words may be too late as Arizona has done practically nothing to create meaningful safety regulations that self-driving companies must meet.

The governor issued updated regulations for autonomous companies on March 1, 2018, nearly three weeks before the fatal crash, and the document leads off with how Arizona is known for its friendliness to self-driving companies.

In addition, the governor says the "low regulatory environment has led to increased investment and economic development throughout the state."

The March 1 statement also says "Arizona has shown leadership in supporting technology innovations that improve safety and mobility on Arizona roads." However, that "leadership" requires only that a self-driving car must meet the same standards as a typical vehicle, even if the robot car has no human driver.

Governor Ducey says the Uber crash is an "unquestionable failure" of promoting public safety, but the governor didn't release details about what Uber must do to gets its self-driving vehicles back on Arizona roads.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, and the daughter of the victim has retained attorneys for a forthcoming lawsuit against Uber.

The ride-hailing company also let its permit expire in California, a permit an autonomous company must have to test vehicles in the state.

Arizona Uber Self-Driving Car Crash Video