A free daily digest of the biggest news stories of the day - and the best features from our website
Thank you for signing up to TheWeek. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
Arizona governor Doug Ducey has suspended Uber from testing its driverless cars in the US state after a woman was killed by one of the company’s self-driving vehicles.
In a letter to Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, the Republican governor said he found video footage of the accident on 18 March, which was released to the public last Wednesday, to be “disturbing and alarming”.
The governor went on to say that he expected tech firms operating prototype driverless cars to make public safety a “top priority”. But Ducey called the accident an “unquestionable failure to comply with this expectation”.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
“We proactively suspended self-driving operations in all cities immediately,” he said.
Governor Ducey had been an advocate of driverless cars prior to the incident, The Guardian says, with the move marking a “major step back” from his “embrace” of the technology.
In December 2015, the governor “welcomed” a number of driverless vehicle firms, including Uber, to test their prototype vehicles on public roads “under few, if any, regulations”, the newspaper says.
Responding to the governor’s letter on Twitter, an Uber spokesperson said the ride-sharing firm “proactively suspended self-driving operations in all cities immediately following the tragic incident last week”.
However, the spokesperson said Uber would “keep a dialogue open with the governor's office” over any concerns they may have.
The incident has also prompted claims from several self-driving car firms that their technology would have been able to detect the pedestrian and avoid her.
John Krafcik, chief executive at Google’s driverless firm Waymo, told Forbes: “We're very confident that our car could have handled that situation.”
The head of Intel’s Mobileye, Amnon Shashua, revealed in a blogpost that technology developed by its driverless division would have also identified the woman.
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.