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Self-driving cars have been said to be the wave of the future. However, that all changed on Monday when it was reported that a self-driving car operated by Uber had knocked down a woman on Sunday in Arizona and killed her. The accident occurred in Tempe, Arizona on a public road.
At present, every major car manufacturer has invested in self-driving technology. Even Apple and Google have invested in this concept. Many Auto manufacturing companies are expected to roll out deliverable mainstream vehicles by 2025. Up until the incident on Sunday there had been a belief in the industry that self-driving cars would significantly reduce accidents.
The technology of the self-driving car is said to be superior to the human mind and physical ability to react to potential accidents. Because of this, it has been expected that self-driving vehicles would be a safer option for people. However, as many people know from their own computer use, there are always a certain number of glitches that occur when using them.
After the accident, Uber suspended all self-driving vehicle usage. That had been set out to start using these self-driving prototypes in 4 major cities across the country. The woman who was struck, Elaine Herzberg, 49, was walking her bicycle in the street outside of a crosswalk zone when she was struck.
The self-driving vehicle was a Volvo XC90 and was operating in the “autonomous mode” at the time of the accident. However, the vehicle was not unmanned as there was a person in the driver’s seat operating the vehicle in the “safety driver” mode at the time the accident occurred.
Uber spokesperson Sarah Abboud said, that the company was saddened by this event and that their hearts go out to the victim’s family after this terrible tragedy. There will undoubtedly be lawsuits surrounding this tragedy and questions about the safety of the technology used for these vehicles. Volvo the car’s manufacturer stated that Uber was the company who supplied much of the self-driving technology used for the vehicle. It is clear that liability could lie on both parties in the event of litigation.
While self-driving technology has advanced over the last few years, there have been noted occasions when accidents have occurred with the technology in use. Another fatality occurred in 2016 when a 40-year-old man from Canton, Ohio, was killed in a Tesla vehicle operating in the self-driving mode.