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Home / Business / California will not renew Uber's permission to test self-propelled vehicles after a fatal crash: the two-way: NPR

California will not renew Uber's permission to test self-propelled vehicles after a fatal crash: the two-way: NPR



Updated at 21:23 ET

The future of Uber's self-driving car program is unlikely to exist in California, at least for now.

The company announced that it would not renew Uber's approval by the State Motor Vehicle Ministry to test a fleet of autonomously-driving cars on California's roads after last week's fatal accident in Tempe, Ariz.

"We did not opt ​​for a California DMV permit again, understanding that our self-driving vehicles would not operate on public roads in the immediate future," said spokesman The Verge.

Uber has voluntarily discontinued all of its self-driving programs in cities across the country . California DMV's current approval expires on March 31

, according to the Associated Press.

The DMV will soon start examining approval applications for companies interested in launching self-piloted autotests, although the likelihood of approval seems low.

"The DMV may begin issuing driverless test and / or operating permits on April 2, but that does not mean a manufacturer will meet or approve the requirements," said DMV spokesman The Verge. Also on Tuesday announced the chip maker Nvidia Corp., that he will suspend the self-driving tests temporarily, spokesman Hector Marinez told NPR.

The company supplies the Uber Autonomous Cars chips and operates five test cars in California and New Jersey.

"Although we have independently developed our self-propelled technology as good engineering practice, we will be waiting to learn from Uber's incident and the entire industry will learn from this incident," Marinez said.

The change in Uber's strategy follows a decision taken hours earlier by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to suspend the tests in that state where the fatal accident happened.

The crash that occurred late at night in the suburb of Tempe, Phoenix, killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she rode her bike over a dimly-lit city street.

In a letter to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Ducey called the incident an "unquestionable failure" to meet public safety expectations.

The local police chief called the incident "inevitable," but sentiment changed rapidly after the video of the crash was released. The video, which shows inside and outside views of the Uber vehicle, shows the driver of the car looking away from the road when suddenly a pedestrian enters the headlights.

The governor cited the video on Monday in both letter and tweets about the crash.

"I found the video disturbing and alarming, and it raises many questions about Uber's ability to test further in Arizona," Ducey wrote in the letter.

He confirmed ongoing investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but said Arizona "must act now."

It is unclear how exactly the Uber suspension will be enforced. Unlike California, Arizona has no approval system for autonomous vehicles. A business statement signed by Ducey earlier this month only requires testers to submit a statement to state regulators certifying the safety of their vehicles. However, the order stated that "nothing in this order justifies the right to operate an autonomous vehicle in Arizona".

According to a State Department of Transportation spokesman, the suspension is only for Uber. Arizona will continue to allow other companies to test autonomous vehicles

Nonetheless, the announcement is a quick reversal for a state previously referred to as the "Wild West" of self-driving cars. In 2016, Ducey welcomed Uber with "open arms and wide open roads" as the company sought alternatives to California's regulatory environment.

According to Uber, Uber will continue to cooperate with the investigators. A company spokesperson told NPR that federal researchers have the vehicle, along with data from its onboard cameras and sensors. The spokesman said Uber took "proactive" steps in post-crash testing, not just in Arizona, but in all the other test cities – Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

But the accident comes another controversy for a company to position itself for a public stock offering. Last year, Uber has been led by a leadership crisis, a massive data breach, a sexual harassment scandal, and a high-profile lawsuit that has resulted in substantial concessions to its competitor Google subsidiary Waymo.

Uber spokesman says the company is unable to comment on details of the crash. Last week, Uber's CEO tweeted "we think of the victim's family."

In a separate incident, the National Transportation Safety Board instituted an investigation into the fatal accident of a Tesla car on Tuesday equipped with a self-propelled system. The vehicle hit a highway barrier, caught fire and was later hit by another in northern California.

The Mercury News reports that the driver died in a hospital on Friday, the day of the accident.

It is unclear whether the Autopilot Autopilot controls the vehicle.


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