Two months have passed since one of Uber’s autonomous cars hit and killed a 49-year-old woman in Tempe, Arizona, becoming the first death recorded by a self-driving vehicle. Since then, we have seen all kinds of reactions, such as the video of the car, and prohibitions by the Arizona government, but now Uber is the one who has decided to withdraw from the state and close its tests in this state.
After learning that Uber’s car would have detected the pedestrian, it seems that the company does not expect to wait for the results of the investigation. Today Uber has sent an email to all employees where they announce the decision to end the tests with autonomous cars in Arizona, which also involves the dismissal of the 300 drivers who worked daily on the project.
They still plan to continue operating in San Francisco and Pittsburgh
Uber began testing with autonomous cars in Arizona in 2016. After the accident, the state government suspended the license to Uber to continue testing its technology on the streets, so Uber decided to stop all tests in the rest of the states while the investigation was carried out. Today we know, that at least for the time being, Uber will not resume operations in Arizona.
The accident is still being investigated by both the Tempe police department and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), who have been publishing details, including the video of the accident, saying that in the coming weeks they will publish the report. preliminary to later release the detailed report where the possible sanctions will be announced and responsibilities will be determined.
Uber has been optimistic despite the fact that the forecasts are not in his favor. After which the company managed to reach an agreement with the family of the victim, a few days ago they went out to say that they will resume their tests with autonomous cars “in the coming months”, this without even having the preliminary results of the investigation.
Until now, the information indicates that Uber set the threshold of the car to the minimum, which would have caused the sensors to detect the pedestrian but in the end, the system “decided” to do nothing to identify it as a false-positive. This would be a software failure and not hardware as it was said at the beginning.
Also, it was announced that a few months ago Uber reduced the number of LIDAR sensors to one per car, and also had also gone from having two security drivers to one. Details that would have contributed to the fatal accident.
What is a reality is that Uber is facing a complicated scenario, where rumors suggest that he could lose the trial license not only in Arizona definitively, but throughout the United States.
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