SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts

Uber's self-driving car killed someone. What happened?

A self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed a pedestrian on a street Sunday in Tempe, Arizona. It's believed to be the ...

Posted: Mar 20, 2018 2:21 PM
Updated: Mar 20, 2018 2:21 PM

A self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed a pedestrian on a street Sunday in Tempe, Arizona. It's believed to be the first fatality involving a fully autonomous car.

Here's what you need to know about the crash, Uber's autonomous vehicle testing, and what's next.

What happened?

A self-driving Uber Volvo XC90 SUV killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she walked her bicycle across a street in Tempe, Arizona, Sunday night, according to the Tempe Police Department.

Related: Uber self-driving car kills pedestrian in first fatal autonomous crash

Based on preliminary information, the car was going approximately 40 mph in a 35 mph zone, according to Tempe Police Detective Lily Duran.

Rafael Vasquez, a 44-year-old test driver from Uber, was behind the wheel of the car at the time.

The department is investigating the crash.

Police say the investigation so far does not indicate the SUV slowed down before hitting Herzberg.

Why was there a driver behind the wheel?

The car was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash, police said.

Autonomous mode means the car is driving on its own. During tests, a person sits behind the wheel as a safeguard.

There were no signs Vasquez was impaired after the collision, Sgt. Ronald Elcock, a Tempe police spokesman, said in a press conference.

Has Uber responded?

Uber said it has stopped testing self-driving vehicles throughout the United States and Canada. It's currently conducting autonomous vehicle tests in Arizona, Pittsburgh, Toronto and other areas.

In a statement, Uber said it is "fully cooperating" with local officials. "Our hearts go out to the victim's family," the company said in a statement.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi reacted on Twitter.

Uber has previously grounded its vehicles while investigating a crash. In 2017, Uber briefly pulled its vehicles from roads after an Uber self-driving vehicle in Tempe landed on its side.

Related: Uber's self-driving cars are back on the road after an accident

Which authorities are investigating the crash?

In addition to the Tempe Police Department, the National Transportation Safety Board said it is launching an investigation.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office will ultimately determine whether any charges will be filed in the crash.

Why did this happen in Arizona?

Arizona is an incubator of self-driving car tests.

Earlier this month, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey updated an executive order to allow self-driving cars to drive on state roads without a test driver behind the wheel.

Arizona has little inclement weather. This makes it more appealing for self-driving cars, which have less experience in rain or during snowfall.

Who else is testing self-driving cars?

Waymo, the self-driving arm of Google's parent company, is launching a public self-driving car service this year in the Phoenix, Arizona, area. Companies such as GM's Cruise and Intel are also testing in the state.

Related: Waymo rolls out self-driving cars without test drivers

Many self-driving companies have circled 2020 as the date when self-driving vehicle technology would be deployed on American roads.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 30901

Reported Deaths: 1964
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9040531
Lake3191167
Cass15796
Allen121365
St. Joseph113234
Hendricks110365
Hamilton109291
Johnson1065102
Elkhart93827
Madison57658
Bartholomew46733
Porter46521
Clark45038
LaPorte38721
Tippecanoe3563
Jackson3531
Howard34417
Delaware34027
Hancock31527
Shelby31121
Floyd31138
Boone27935
Morgan25724
Vanderburgh2402
Decatur22131
White2128
Montgomery21114
Clinton2041
Harrison18321
Grant17820
Noble17420
Dubois1712
Greene16723
Warrick16326
Dearborn16221
Monroe15810
Henry1556
Lawrence14222
Miami1351
Vigo1357
Putnam1297
Jennings1264
Orange12222
Scott1153
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Carroll882
Daviess8116
Steuben762
Newton7210
Wabash722
Kosciusko711
Wayne665
Marshall611
LaGrange592
Washington521
Jasper521
Fayette504
Fulton461
Rush452
Jefferson411
Jay410
Clay381
Pulaski380
Randolph373
Whitley342
Brown331
Sullivan311
Starke303
Owen301
DeKalb281
Knox240
Benton240
Crawford230
Perry230
Huntington222
Tipton221
Wells220
Switzerland190
Blackford191
Fountain172
Parke170
Posey170
Spencer141
Gibson132
Ohio130
Adams121
Warren121
Martin100
Union80
Vermillion80
Pike50
Unassigned0152
West Lafayette
Few Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 87°
Kokomo
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 82°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 79°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 79°
Williamsport
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
Crawfordsville
Broken Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 66°
Frankfort
Overcast
71° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 71°
Delphi
Scattered Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 80°
Monticello
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 79°
Logansport
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 81°
Warm Temperatures For Memorial Day
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events