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UPDATE, 23/03/18Footage of the accident has been released by Tempe Police department. You can see it here. Warning: although the video doesn’t show the moment of impact, some people may find it uncomfortable.


A woman has been killed in Arizona overnight, after being struck by a self-driving Uber prototype operating in autonomous mode. 

According to police in Tempe, Arizona, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg was crossing the street at around 10PM local time when she was struck by a Volvo XC90 autonomous test vehicle. She later died in hospital.

Uber says the vehicle was carrying an ‘operator’ – responsible for monitoring the road, and taking control when the car makes a mistake – and no passengers when the accident occurred. Investigators have spoken to the driver.

“[The XC90] was in the autonomous mode at the time [of the accident],” Sergeant Ronald Elcock, Tempe Police Department media relations unit, said in a press conference.

Preliminary investigations suggest the car was travelling at 40mph (64km/h) when it hit Herzberg, and there were no “significant signs” of the vehicle slowing down.

Ms Herzberg wasn’t using a pedestrian crossing when she was struck. She was hit almost instantly after stepping onto the road.

“Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We’re fully cooperating with Tempe Police and local authorities as they investigate this incident,” Uber said in a tweet.

Company CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, also responded to the crash, describing it as “incredibly sad news” on Twitter.

This is one of the first documented fatalities caused by a self-driving car. In 2016, Joshua Brown was killed when his Tesla Model S hit a semi-trailer while operating in the vehicle’s driverless Autopilot mode on a Florida highway.

Uber started testing self-driving cars in Arizona just over 12 months ago, after the Californian DMV revoked its license. The company refused to apply for the $150 permit required to test self-driving cars in San Francisco.

The US National Transport Safety Board is investigating the collision, and Uber has suspended its self-driving program for the time being.


UPDATE, 23/03/18: Footage of the accident has been released by Tempe Police department. You can see it here. Warning: although the video doesn’t show the moment of impact, some people may find it uncomfortable.


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