Uber’s self-driving Volvos have been banned from Arizona’s public roadways.Image: AFP / Stringer / Getty ImagesBy Stan Schroeder2018-03-27 08:38:29 UTC
Uber’s driverless tech pilot program has come to an end in Arizona.
On Monday, the governor of Arizona, Douglas A. Ducey, told Uber in a letter that the state will suspend Uber’s license to test autonomous vehicles on Arizona’s public roads.
The decision comes a week after an Uber driverless car hit and killed Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona. Herzberg was pushing a bike over a roadway, outside of a crosswalk, when she was hit; based on a video of the incident, neither the car nor the safety driver behind the wheel seem to have reacted.
In his letter, addressed to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Ducey claims the video of the fatal accident “raises many questions about the ability of Uber to continue testing in Arizona.”
“As governor, my top priority is public safety,” Ducey wrote. “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.”
Ducey notes that the incident is still under investigation, but nevertheless, he says, “Arizona must take action now.”
NEW: In light of the fatal Uber crash in Tempe, Governor Ducey sends this letter to Uber ordering the company to suspend its testing of autonomous vehicles in Arizona indefinitely #12News pic.twitter.com/gO5BZB9P2e
— Bianca Buono (@BiancaBuono) March 27, 2018
Uber relocated the program from San Francisco to Arizona in December 2016 (the program was later restarted), after California’s DMV pulled the cars’ registration due to the company’s unwillingness to comply with the state’s regulations. Arizona’s regulations for autonomous driving are lax compared to most states, which is why both Uber and Waymo were testing there. However, a recent New York Times report, based on leaked internal documents, indicated that Uber’s self-driving technology is far behind its rival.
Uber has also been testing its driverless tech in Toronto, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco, but all testing has been paused following the fatal accident.