Published: Wed, March 21, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Toyota to Temporarily Halt Driverless-Car Testing in US

Toyota to Temporarily Halt Driverless-Car Testing in US

It's believed to be the first fatality involving a fully autonomous auto.

Elaine Herzberg, who was 49, was walking alongside her bicycle outside a crosswalk on a road with four lanes in a suburb of Phoenix about 10 p.m. local time on Sunday or 12:00 EST Monday morning, when the Uber vehicle struck her while traveling at approximately 40 miles per hour, said police.

Prior to suspending all tests, the company was trialing several dozen self-driving cars in Tempe, Arizona, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto.

Silicon Valley, automakers and other companies have been streaking toward producing vehicles that were said to be capable technologically of greatly reducing traffic accidents and fatalities.

The victim, Elaine Herzberg, 49, was walking her bike outside of the crosswalk. Tragically a self driving Uber vehicle struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona.

Neither she nor the backup driver showed signs of impairment, he said.

"The pedestrian was outside of the crosswalk". "And as soon as she walked into the lane of traffic, she was struck by the vehicle".

The public's image of the vehicles will be defined by stories like the crash in Tempe, said Bryant Walker Smith, a University of SC law professor who studies self-driving vehicles.

"The safety of autonomous technology is not proven, and there are many unanswered questions about how "driverless" technology is supposed to operate", the Teamsters said. In 2017 alone, 33 states introduced legislation.

Second, everyone - policymakers, the media, the public - should recognize how the Tempe crash may feed a risky pattern of irrationality: Human beings are quick to rationalize their own errors and quick to obsess over a machine's errors. We need to figure out how to avoid future tragedies, given the increasing use of driverless cars. But they do have faults.

"We can not speculate on the cause of the incident or what it may mean to the automated driving industry going forward", Toyota said in a statement. "As such, we regularly exchange information about automated driving with Uber for some time now".

Moreover, as long as the company refrains from testing its cars on public roads, it will be unable to collect the mapping data it likely needs to plug into the cars' algorithms and deploy them commercially sometime next year.

Some incredibly sad news out of Arizona.

Police are yet to determine who was at fault in the fatal collision.

Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir, who was chief of police in El Cerrito, California, before becoming Tempe's chief in March 2016, went into greater detail with the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday. Arizona has no reporting requirements.

"We believe that open collaboration with various companies is critical" for mobility as a service, a spokeswoman for Toyota said in an email after the Uber incident.

There was an accident in Arizona one year ago involving a self-driving Uber vehicle, but authorities found it was caused by another auto, according to the newspaper.

The technology has widely been seen as almost ready for primetime despite earlier incidents, such as the death of a Tesla driver who was relying on the system's Autopilot system before he got decapitated running under a semi-truck on a Florida highway. In more than 90% of fatal crashes today, driver error, or miscalculation, is blamed.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is considering other voluntary guidelines that it says will help foster innovation. Proposals also are pending in Congress, including one that would stop states from regulating autonomous vehicles, Smith said.

A Tempe, Arizona woman has died following a collision with a self-driving Uber vehicle, which was operating in autonomous mode. That letter was planned before the crash. It is not yet clear how the accident occurred despite a driver being behind the wheel.

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