The following is an excerpt from Sydney Maki, Alexandria Sage | March 20, 2018 | reuters.com |
TEMPE, Ariz./SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - An Uber self-driving car hit and killed a woman crossing the street in Arizona, police said on Monday, marking the first fatality involving an autonomous vehicle and a potential blow to the technology expected to transform transportation.
The ride services company said it was suspending North American tests of its self-driving vehicles, which are currently going on in Arizona, Pittsburgh and Toronto.
So-called robot cars, when fully developed by companies including Uber, Alphabet Inc and General Motors Co, are expected to drastically cut down on motor vehicle fatalities and create billion-dollar businesses. But Monday’s accident underscored the possible challenges ahead for the promising technology as the cars confront real-world situations involving real people.
U.S. lawmakers have been debating legislation that would speed introduction of self-driving cars.
“This tragic accident underscores why we need to be exceptionally cautious when testing and deploying autonomous vehicle technologies on public roads,” said Democratic Senator Edward Markey, a member of the transportation committee, in a statement.
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