Since 2016 there have been various large advancements of technology, one of these has been the development and creation of self-driving cars by large companies such as Tesla, Uber, Google, Apple, etc. There are various reasons for the creation of these cars, one of these is increased road safety given that 94% of accidents are caused by the drivers. Also the average person in the USA takes 26 minutes to get to work, therefore a self driving car would increase productivity. These are all incredible benefits of the creation of self-driving cars, yet there have been various problems presented in the development of these.
Approximately one month ago one of the largest companies developing this technology suffered a major accident in Arizona. A self-driving Uber crash killed a woman in Arizona, a video recorded by the Uber car shows how this car did not slow down when encounter with a crossing pedestrian. This woman was Elaine Herzberg, and the event took place in Tempe, Arizona. Uber has stated that inside the self-driving vehicles there are always “safety drivers”, these are people such as Rafaela Velasquez who are supposed to stop an accident in case of a malfunction, yet in this situations she was not able to stop the accident because at the time of the crash she was searching for something inside the vehicle.
This crash created large amounts of controversy about why this car didn’t stop when encountered by a person and created criticism towards Arizona state government about regulation on testing of self-driving cars. Local authorities are investigating if this accident should face criminal punishments given that under Arizona laws, large companies such as Uber are considered “criminally liable” when these situations take place with self-driving cars, yet certain people have expressed their views that Uber should not be considered responsible. Certain people are blaming Rafaela Velasquez the death of this woman.
The majority of self driving car companies have stated that they believe autonomous cars to be much safer than human drivers, yet there is much controversy about the fact that these cars aren’t yet fully developed, and they are still being tested in public roads. This has caused Uber to pause the development of their cars and to release a statement which said: “The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine’s loved ones. Our cars remain grounded, and we’re assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can.”
Even though this accident has served as a “wake up call” for large companies such as Uber. it is hoped that authorities and developers of autonomous cars will take appropriate steps and measures in order to stop this event from repeating itself.