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

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 32437

Reported Deaths: 2030
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9371546
Lake3347170
Cass15867
Allen135366
St. Joseph121834
Hendricks113567
Hamilton112391
Johnson1092104
Elkhart107028
Madison58259
Porter49521
Bartholomew48634
Clark47141
LaPorte41523
Tippecanoe3803
Howard37620
Jackson3681
Delaware35936
Hancock32327
Shelby32121
Floyd31539
Boone29335
Morgan27024
Vanderburgh2532
Montgomery23317
White2288
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19521
Noble19221
Harrison18821
Dubois1852
Henry1709
Greene16824
Warrick16528
Dearborn16421
Monroe16211
Vigo1507
Lawrence14623
Miami1391
Putnam1347
Jennings1284
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1136
Franklin1068
Kosciusko971
Carroll932
Daviess8416
Marshall801
Steuben802
Wayne755
Newton7410
Wabash732
Fayette714
Jasper621
LaGrange622
Washington521
Fulton471
Jay460
Randolph453
Rush452
Jefferson421
Whitley412
Clay411
Pulaski400
Owen341
Sullivan331
DeKalb331
Brown331
Starke313
Perry260
Wells260
Huntington262
Knox250
Benton250
Tipton241
Crawford230
Blackford202
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Parke180
Spencer171
Posey160
Gibson142
Ohio130
Warren121
Adams121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0159

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 114306

Reported Deaths: 5083
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook745213455
Lake7845270
DuPage7350347
Kane5947162
Will5279264
Winnebago200152
McHenry147569
St. Clair103573
Kankakee80843
Kendall73619
Rock Island63823
Champaign5807
Madison54457
Boone41016
Sangamon33727
DeKalb3343
Randolph2644
Jackson24210
McLean21513
Out of IL2051
Stephenson1942
Ogle1932
Macon18919
Peoria1888
Clinton17817
Union1437
LaSalle14013
Whiteside13410
Iroquois1314
Coles11912
Warren1130
Unassigned1100
Jefferson10116
Knox940
Monroe9311
Grundy882
McDonough837
Lee761
Tazewell693
Cass680
Henry670
Williamson572
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin431
Perry410
Pulaski410
Montgomery391
Vermilion371
Morgan341
Christian334
Jo Daviess310
Livingston312
Douglas260
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Washington180
Woodford182
Mason170
Menard170
Mercer160
Shelby161
Bureau151
Hancock150
Carroll142
Franklin120
Piatt120
Schuyler120
Crawford110
Fulton110
Bond101
Brown100
Clark100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Moultrie100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Effingham61
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Edgar00
Terre Haute
Broken Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 69°
Robinson
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 67°
Indianapolis
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Rockville
Overcast
65° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 65°
Casey
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 68°
Brazil
Broken Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 69°
Marshall
Broken Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 69°
More Rain Thursday
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events