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‘Self-driving’ Uber kills pedestrian

Uber says it is co-operating with police after a “self-driving” car struck and killed a woman in the US. Picture: AFP/Angelo Merendino
Uber says it is co-operating with police after a “self-driving” car struck and killed a woman in the US. Picture: AFP/Angelo Merendino

A WOMAN has been struck and killed by an Uber self-driving vehicle in the US state of Arizona.

At the time of the accident, which occurred overnight, the car was in autonomous mode with a vehicle operator behind the wheel, police said.

"The vehicle was travelling northbound ... when a female walking outside of the crosswalk crossed the road from west to east when she was struck by the Uber vehicle," police said in a statement.

In the wake of the accident, Uber has suspended its autonomous vehicle program. Picture: AP/Eric Risberg
In the wake of the accident, Uber has suspended its autonomous vehicle program. Picture: AP/Eric Risberg

In response, Uber said it had suspended its autonomous vehicle program across the United States and Canada.

The accident marked the first pedestrian fatality from a self-driving vehicle, which are still being tested around the globe, and could derail efforts to fast-track the introduction of the new technology.

Uber said in a statement it was fully co-operating with authorities.

The self-driving testing has been taking place in Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

 

Carmakers and tech companies are competing to be first with the technology.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi expressed condolences on his Twitter account and said the company was "fully co-operating' with the investigation.

Uber is under fire after a woman was killed by one of the company’s autonomous cars. Picture: AP/Seth Wenig
Uber is under fire after a woman was killed by one of the company’s autonomous cars. Picture: AP/Seth Wenig

The woman died of her injuries at a hospital and her name was not made public. Uber has been testing the self-driving vehicles in Tempe and Phoenix for months.

In May 2016, a man died when his Tesla Model S hit an 18-wheeler on a Florida highway while driving in the semi-autonomous Autopilot mode. Joshua Brown was the first person to die in a self-driving car.