Arizona governor, Uber kept self-driving auto program secret

Arizona's governor has suspended self-driving Uber cars from the state's public roads

On Monday, Arizona's governor Doug Ducey suspended Uber's self-driving vehicle program in the state, calling it an "unquestionable failure" to comply with safety expectations. The ride-hailing service has halted tests of autonomous vehicles in a number of locations after a fatal crash in Tempe, Arizona, earlier this month. All of Uber's autonomous-vehicle tests have been on pause since the incident. Its current permit will expire this weekend on March 31. A spokesman for Uber speaking to Jalopnik even said that since the company had suspended its testing across the continent following the collision, it would not be testing in the immediate future and so did not need the permit. In a letter to an Uber employee, California DMV deputy director Brian Soublet wrote that Uber had indicated it has "suspended its autonomous vehicle testing operations indefinitely in Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, and Toronto".

"Although we developed our self-driving technology independently, as good engineering practice, we will wait to learn from Uber's incident".

"Given this, we made a decision to not reapply for a California DMV permit with the understanding that our self-driving vehicles would not operate on public roads in the immediate future", the statement concluded.

The accident involving an Uber self-driving auto that occurred in Arizona on March 18, which resulted in the death of a pedestrian crossing the street, has South Korean autonomous vehicle researchers at work to develop technology that would enhance the road safety of autonomous cars.

Elaine Herzberg's untimely death has provoked government officials to review their stance on autonomous cars and the laws surrounding them, nearly as if the regulations which have been in the works in recent months is now the important topic that had been ignored for years. The order did note, however, that "nothing in this order establishes a right to operate an autonomous vehicle in Arizona". Ontario's Ministry of Transportation said that the state is watching developments in Arizona and will decide to do based on Uber's operation in the state. They are working with the National Transportation Safety Board and the US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to determine who, or what, was at fault for the accident. None of the investigations have determined whether Uber was at fault in the crash. At the time, though, the governor failed to mention that Uber had been secretly testing such vehicles in the state since August.

Uber has been under intense scrutiny following the fatal crash.

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