An autonomous vehicle Uber involved in a fatal accident


A vehicle independent of Uber, on September 13, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Photo by Angelo Merendino. AFP)

An autonomous vehicle of Uber has been involved in an accident that claimed the life of a pedestrian Monday in the United States, said the company, which has decided in the wake of suspending its program of circulation of cars without driver.

The accident took place in the city of Tempe, near Phoenix, Arizona (south-west), where Uber is rolling autonomous cars. Tests conducted in Toronto (Canada), Pittsburgh (est) and San Francisco (north-west).

According to Uber, “the vehicle was in autonomous mode during the collision, with an operator behind the wheel when he struck “a woman who was crossing outside of the nails.” It was transported to the hospital where she died, said Uber.

“We are cooperating fully with local authorities in their investigation”, said the booking service of cars with driver (VTC), which has not given further details.

Uber is part of the many companies (technology groups, manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers (oems) who are working on the autonomous control is seen as the future of transportation. They engage in a fierce battle, with billions of dollars, in the race for who will be the first car to really stand alone on the roads.

Many companies are already experimenting with vehicles.

The business of VTC such as Lyft and Uber are particularly concerned because the bulk of their costs go over in the remuneration of drivers.

General Motors (NYSE:GM) has recently requested permission from u.s. authorities to test a car without a steering wheel or pedals in the framework of its program of development of an autonomous vehicle that he wants to put on the roads in 2019.

– Not the first accident –

Paradox, the defenders of the autonomous control estimate that this technology can reduce the number of accidents, precisely because the machines would be more reliable than a human.

But this accident should reinforce the questions about the safety of autonomous cars, especially as the event Monday is not the first fatal accident involving a vehicle having functions of this type.

An american motorist for a period of forty years had died in 2016, while he was driving a sedan Model S Tesla with Autopilot, the software that allows a number of manoeuvres without driver intervention.

The regulator of transport, the NTSB, had felt that the system was in part responsible for the accident and should not have been used on the road where the accident occurred because it was not adapted to this technology.

The “too much dependence” on the driver’s Autopilot “has led to a disengagement extended” which led to the collision, was concluded by the NTSB.

Autopilot “is not a technology of autonomous control” and “drivers must remain aware at all times while driving”, had pleaded Tesla.

Chance of the calendar, it is the same day of the publication of the conclusion of the NTSB that the administration Trump had authorized more testing of autonomous cars on the roads, believing that this technology could, in addition to reducing accidents, to improve the mobility of seniors, people with disabilities and other individuals.

An aberration for the association of defence of consumers Consumer Watchdog.

“It is a roadmap allowing the manufacturers to do what they want, when they want and where they want, making our roads to private laboratories for cars robots without any consideration for our safety,” one reacted to the association.

Proof of issue of enormous economic of the autonomous car, a trial for theft of technologies between Uber and Waymo resulted in early February by a mutual agreement at nearly $ 250 million.

The subsidiary of Google (NASDAQ:GOOGLE) claimed up to two billion dollars to Uber, accusing him of stealing patents on the development of autonomous cars.

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