Self-Driving Uber Car Kills Pedestrian in Arizona, Accident Could Have Implications for Autonomous Vehicle Testing

An autonomous test vehicle being tested by Uber struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona late Sunday night, marking what appears to be the first pedestrian killed by an autonomous vehicle, reports The New York Times.

The Uber vehicle in question was in an autonomous driving mode with a human safety driver at the wheel, and the woman who was struck was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, according to local police. No other details on the accident are available at this time.

lexussuvselfdriving2

One of Apple's autonomous test vehicles

Uber is cooperating with Tempe police and has suspended all of its self-driving vehicle tests in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto at the current time. Uber's autonomous vehicles have previously been involved in collisions, as have vehicles from other companies like Tesla, but this is the first pedestrian-related accident that has resulted in a fatality.

This incident will likely have wide-ranging implications for all companies who are testing autonomous vehicles, including Apple, and it could potentially result in more oversight and regulation.

Apple has been testing its autonomous vehicles on public roads in California near its Cupertino headquarters since last year. Apple vehicles, which include a series of Lexus RX450h SUVs equipped with a host of sensors and cameras, have not been involved in any known accidents to date.

To date, most autonomous vehicles in California and Arizona have been using safety drivers behind the wheel who are meant to take over in the event of an emergency, but California in February lifted that rule.

Starting on April 2, companies in California that are testing self-driving vehicles will be able to deploy cars that do not have a driver behind the wheel. Arizona also allows driverless cars to be tested in the state, and Waymo has been testing autonomous driverless minivans in Arizona since November.

Update: Tempe police chief Sylvia Moir told the San Francisco Chronicle that based on a preliminary investigation, it does not appear Uber is at fault in the accident. "It's very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode (autonomous or human-driven) based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway," she said. She also clarified that the Uber vehicle did not make an attempt to brake.

Moir did say, however, that she will not rule out the potential to file charges against the back-up driver in the vehicle. Tempe police will work with investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to further investigate the accident.

Related Roundup: Apple Car

Top Rated Comments

az431 Avatar
50 months ago
Meanwhile 15 pedestrians will be killed today by negligent human drives. 15 more will die tomorrow and 15 died yesterday and 15 die everyday. Why does no one care about that?
There are roughly 300 million cars registered in the US and maybe 100 of the are driverless vehicles, so your conclusion that the rates of pedestrian deaths are the same for both is illogical and absurd. That’s why no one cares.
Score: 107 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Julien Avatar
50 months ago
Meanwhile (in the US only) 15 pedestrians will be killed today by negligent human drives. 15 more will die tomorrow, 15 died yesterday and 15 die everyday. Why does no one care about that?
Score: 75 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ignatius345 Avatar
50 months ago
This will probably be the most well-documented and studied car-on-pedestrian crash in history.
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
orev Avatar
50 months ago
"Outside the crosswalk"

That tells me a lot right there, will wait for more details.
This lady was 200% dedicated to science. Not only because of being run over by an autonomous car (which would help the industry), but also because she supported Darwin's theory by crossing outside of a crosswalk.
Somebody DIED. Show some respect and take your pithy comments somewhere else.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jacobh101 Avatar
50 months ago
the beauty of autonomous vehicles is you can reconstruct the exact series of events of the accident to see who's at fault - leveraging all; cameras, lidars, lasers, and sensors...
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ignatius345 Avatar
50 months ago
Meanwhile 15 pedestrians were killed today by negligent human drives. 15 more will die tomorrow and 15 died yesterday and 15 die everyday. Why does no one care about that?
Amen to that. The police in my city let drivers speed through neighborhoods and run right through red lights. And NYC is possibly the most heavily pedestrian-oriented city in America. I can't wait for a new era where cars behave according to the rules.
[doublepost=1521480393][/doublepost]
"Outside the crosswalk"

That tells me a lot right there, will wait for more details.
Maybe she shouldn’t have been crossing outside of a crosswalk area... but also the car and driver should have seen her
Crosswalks were invented for the convenience of car drivers. A person being outside one doesn't make them "fair game" to be killed.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
safari icon blue banner

Safari Bug Allows Websites to Track Your Recent Browsing Activity in Real Time [Updated]

Sunday January 16, 2022 3:37 pm PST by
A bug in WebKit's implementation of a JavaScript API called IndexedDB can reveal your recent browsing history and even your identity, according to a blog post shared on Friday by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS. In a nutshell, the bug allows any website that uses IndexedDB to access the names of IndexedDB databases generated by other websites during a user's browsing session....
ipad air 4 video

New iPad Air Rumored to Launch This Spring With A15 Chip, 5G, Center Stage Camera, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 8:05 pm PST by
Apple is planning to release a fifth-generation iPad Air with similar features as the sixth-generation iPad mini, including an A15 Bionic chip, 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage support, 5G for cellular models, and Quad-LED True Tone flash, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. Citing reliables sources in China, the report claims that the new iPad Air could be...
Unlikely Products 2022 Feature

Six Rumored Apple Products You're Unlikely to See This Year

Saturday January 15, 2022 2:06 pm PST by
Much has been said about what consumers could see from Apple in 2022, but the company is also working on a handful of rumored products that aren't expected to be unveiled for at least another 12 months, and in some cases a lot longer. Of course, that's assuming they get released at all. Apple works on many potential products some of which ultimately never see the light of day. With that in...
AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature Red

AirPods Pro 2 Could Start a New Accessory Ecosystem

Friday January 14, 2022 2:34 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could arrive alongside a new series of accessories, recent leaked images suggest. Alleged leaked photos of the next-generation AirPods Pro obtained by MacRumors showed a charging case with a metal loop on the side for attaching a strap. Apple has not used this design for any of its other AirPod models and it is unclear why it would be added in this...
netflix2

Netflix Again Raises Prices for All Plans, 4K Streaming Now $20 Per Month

Friday January 14, 2022 12:46 pm PST by
Netflix today updated the prices for its streaming plans, and all of its offerings are now more expensive. The Basic plan is now priced at $9.99 per month, the Standard plan is priced at $15.49 per month, and the Premium plan is priced at $19.99 per month. The Basic plan is $1 more expensive, up from $8.99 per month. This plan allows users to watch on just one screen at a time, and it limits ...
tesla carplay solution

Developer Showcases Apple CarPlay Workaround for Teslas

Monday January 17, 2022 7:24 am PST by
A Tesla Model 3 owner has resorted to a workaround to implement Apple CarPlay in his vehicle, amid no sign of official support from Tesla (via Tesla North). Apple CarPlay and Apple Music support are among the most-requested Tesla features, but with no indication that Tesla is willing to implement Apple CarPlay in its vehicles, Polish developer Michał Gapiński took matters into his own...
top stories 20220115

Top Stories: iPhone 14 Pro Rumors, iCloud Private Relay Controversy, iOS 15.2.1 Released, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 6:00 am PST by
Hole-punch? Pill? Hole-punch and pill? Rumors about what the front camera system on the iPhone 14 Pro will look like are evolving rapidly, and it now appears we might be getting a novel but potentially controversial design later this year. Other major stories this week included some confusion and controversy about iCloud Private Relay being disabled for some T-Mobile customers, increasing...