Toyota pauses self-driving auto testing amid Uber accident probe

Uber suspends self-driving car testing after cyclist is killed

The accident may result in safer autonomous cars regulated by more stringent oversight.

Some incredibly sad news out of Arizona. The vehicle is said to have been driving itself while an operator was behind the wheel when it hit the woman who was crossing a road on her bicycle.

A spokesperson for Uber said vehicle operators in Arizona undergo a screening process that checks local, state, and national databases and meets local requirements by law. This pause affects test vehicles that operate in what Toyota calls "chauffeur" mode, its term for autonomous driving.

"Our hearts go out to the victim's family", Uber wrote on Twitter.

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

The person who controlled a self-driving Uber vehicle that killed an Arizona woman this week was a convicted felon, authorities said Tuesday. "We have complied with the City of Boston's request to temporarily halt autonomous vehicle testing on public roads", a NuTonomy spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. Safety regulators later determined Tesla was not at fault. Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also are investigating.

Though the autonomous auto had a human safety driver behind the wheel who could have theoretically taken control, neither auto nor driver detected the pedestrian - who was walking her bike across an intersection - before the vehicle struck her at roughly 40 miles per hour. Prior to the accident, the company had been considering teaming up with Uber's autonomous driving program, though a decision on a partnership has not been made.

Uber first launched its self-driving auto program onto public roads in Pittsburgh back in September 2016.

The death is drawing fresh attention to questions about the safety of autonomous vehicle systems, and the challenges of testing them on public streets.

Boston-based and Singapore Government-funded nuTonomy has been testing driverless vehicles at one-north, a research and development hub in Buona Vista, since April 2016, with plans to roll out driverless taxis here by the middle of this year.

- South Korea's transport ministry began the provisional permit system in February 2016 and has approved provisional permits for 41 self-driving cars as of March including 14 for Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS), two for Kia Motors (000270.KS), and one for Audi-Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE).

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