Uber Self-Driving Car Struck and Killed Arizona Woman While in Autonomous Mode

By Bryan Menegus and Kate Conger on at

Last night a woman was struck by an autonomous Uber vehicle in Tempe, Arizona. She later died of her injuries in the hospital.

The deadly collision—reported by ABC15 and later confirmed to Gizmodo by Uber and Tempe police—took place around 10PM at the intersection Mill Avenue and Curry Road, both of which are multi-lane roads. Autonomous vehicle developers often test drive at night, during storms, and other challenging conditions to help their vehicles learn to navigate in a variety of environments.

According to Tempe PD, the car was in autonomous mode at the time of the incident, with a vehicle operator sitting behind the wheel.

A police spokesperson added in a statement that the woman’s “next of kin has not been notified yet so her name is not being released at this time. Uber is assisting and this is still an active investigation.” The woman was crossing the street outside a crosswalk when she was hit, the spokesperson said.

We’ve reached out to Uber and will update when we receive comment. So far the company’s only public statement comes from Twitter.

“Some incredibly sad news out of Arizona,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted. “We’re thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened.”

Uber’s autonomous vehicle pilot programme was briefly suspended around this time last year following a crash, also in Tempe, though that incident did not result in serious injuries. In December 2016, one of Uber’s self-driving cars ran a red light in San Francisco—an incident that Uber initially attributed to human error, but was later revealed to have been caused by the vehicle. Following this deadly event, the program has been suspended yet again.

This story is developing and will be updated as information becomes available.


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