The accident reportedly occurred early this morning at the corner of Mill Avenue and Curry Road. According to Tempe Police, a woman with a bicycle was crossing the street at a cross walk when she was struck by the Uber self-driving prototype on autonomous mode with a Uber employee at the wheel.
...The car had a human driver supervising, so it wasn't just a software failure...
Updated at 2:14 p.m. ET
A self-driving car operated by Uber struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Ariz., Sunday night. The incident could be the first pedestrian death involving a self-driving vehicle.
The car was in autonomous mode but had a human riding along to take control of the vehicle if necessary, according to the Tempe Police Department. The victim, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, was struck while walking outside a crosswalk, police said. She was immediately transported to a local hospital, where she died.
The incident is not the first fatal crash involving autonomous technology. In May 2016 a Tesla Model S struck a tractor-trailer on a Florida highway, killing the Tesla's driver. Government investigators highlighted an "overreliance on vehicle automation" as a contributor to the crash.
Not to make light or minimize her death, but have to say anyone not using a crosswalk risks getting hit by passing traffic, driverless or not. Wonder if use of a cell phone on the part of the pedestrian was involved. I see so many people walking down sidewalks and crossing streets while looking down at theirs.
I am waiting for accidents to be reported by users of Cadillac's new CT6 Super Cruise hands-free driving. Even if intended for highway use, hard to believe there won't be accidents with it too. I'm just not convinced the technology is ready to say that drivers can be totally hands free.
I don't know about Arizona, but in Texas, a bicyclist has the absolute right to use an entire lane of traffic the same as any motorized vehicle does on any streets that don't have a designated bike lane (very very very few here). There is something odd about the road in the video - there is a solid white line on the right side of the lane that then turns into a dashed white line. Anyone know what this signifies?
If this was riding a bike in the traffic lane vs.a bike that darted out in front of the car, that is a tremendous problem for the uber technology. The Electrek story has the video from the local news station that seem to show a bike wheel that is messed up and the other one is fine, which may mean that the person was hit either head on or from behind (can't tell which bike wheel is the messed up on the video). If it was hit from behind...uber better not run these cars on public roads without figuring out how to prevent this type of crash. If it was head on, that could indicate the person darted out in front of the uber car while going in the opposite direction of the traffic flow. That scenario doesn't implicate Uber's technology much if at all. I assume there is video evidence that will eventually let us all know the facts. It is unfortunate that some will immediately call for an end to self driving technology. This event should be a wake up call for the creation of a uniform set of standards for self driving, but, not the banning of the technology. I would say Congress should act, but, given their track record over the last several years, that seems incredibly unlikely.