Uber switched off Volvo’s inbuilt collision-avoidance technology before one of its self-driving XC90 prototypes struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona – a new report has revealed.
“We don’t want people to be confused or thing it was a failure of the technology that we supply for Volvo, because that’s not the case,” a spokesperson from Aptiv, supplier for Volvo’s driver assist systems, told Automotive News Europe.
According to police, the vehicle didn’t slow before striking Elaine Herzberg, who wasn’t using a pedestrian crossing at the time.
Footage released a few days after the accident reveals the on-board operator wasn’t paying attention to the road in the lead up to the crash, either. You can see it here, but be warned: although the video stops before impact, some viewers may find it distressing.
“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 on Twitter, describing it as “incredibly sad news”.
Since the crash, Arizona Governor, Doug Ducey, suspended Uber’s self-driving test permit for the state.
“As governor, my top priority is public safety,” he said in a letter.
“Improving public safety has always been the emphasis of Arizona’s approach to autonomous vehicle testing, and my expectation is that public safety is also the top priority for all who operate this technology in the state of Arizona.
“The incident that took place on March 18 is an unquestionable failure to comply with this expectation.”
Uber has been testing self-driving cars in Arizona for just over 12 months, after the Californian Department of Motor Vehicles revoked its license for refusing to pay $150 for a testing permit 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.