According to The New York Times, "a woman in Tempe, Ariz., has died after being hit by a self-driving car operated by Uber, in what appears to be the first known death of a pedestrian struck by an autonomous vehicle on a public road."

Although the autonomous car had a human safety driver at the wheel during the accident, the fatality is being ruled as the fault of the driverless technology.

“Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident,” an Uber spokeswoman, Sarah Abboud, said in a statement.

While the belief is that autonomous technology will inevitably be safer - because the system can't be distracted or because it won't disobey traffic laws - problems have arisen when other cars or pedestrians act erratically.

As the Times noted, "an Uber self-driving car was involved in another crash a year ago in Tempe. In that collision, one of Uber’s Volvo XC90 sport utility vehicles was hit when the driver of another car failed to yield, causing the Uber vehicle to roll over onto its side."

Fortune estimates that by 2040, 95% of new vehicles sold, or 96.3 million cars, will be fully autonomous.

  • Main / Featured Image:Uber

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