The last national exposure any emerging technology needs is a story involving a fatal collision. Unfortunately, that's what the ridesharing organization Uber now faces.
Tempe police report that a woman was struck late Sunday evening as she attempted to cross the street. The Uber vehicle, which was operating in autonomous mode, was reportedly traveling northbound when it struck the woman who was walking outside of a crosswalk. Uber has suspended self-driving operations in four cities - Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.
While the police investigation is still active, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has started their own investigation into the "operating condition of the vehicle, driver interaction with the vehicle and opportunities for the vehicle or driver to detect the pedestrian." The NTSB met with representatives from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Uber and Tempe police to begin their investigation.
At the time of the incident, there was a driver behind the wheel, but the car was operating in autonomous mode. Police noted that information from numerous sensors as well as the dash camera will be carefully reviewed as part of the investigation.
The subject of driverless, robotic or autonomous vehicles has sparked heated debate in recent years. Many people fear that it is unrealistic to expect computer algorithms to parse an abundance of data into the proper course alterations to make. Many cite an earlier accident in Tempe where a vehicle failed to yield and an autonomous Uber SUV struck it and rolled onto its side.
As technology continues to improve and autonomous vehicle use continues to grow, stories involving pedestrian or vehicle collisions might likewise increase. An experienced attorney can answer your questions and guide you through the legal process following any type of vehicle accident.