Uber shuts down self-driving operations in Arizona following fatal crash


Uber self-driving vehicle. Reuters. The company will continue work on self-driving tech at other locations, including Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and two California cities-possibly San Francisco and Sacramento, where it is seeking permits.

The move comes after reports surfaced revealing at least 100 Uber drivers in the USA had been accused of sexually assaulting passengers in recent years, including one recent case in which a driver followed a female passenger after reaching her home and tried to force himself into her apartment.

In a statement, the company said it was looking forward to getting back on the roads in the near future and that it remains committed to its "top-to-bottom" safety review. Uber now faces the challenge of testing in congested, urban cities with rain, fog, snow and ice.

Waymo, a subset of Google, is still testing autonomous vehicles in Arizona.

Uber previously suspended operations of autonomous vehicles following the March 18 accident in which a 49-year-old woman was hit while crossing the street in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe. That includes an incident with an Uber self-driving auto that hit a pedestrian in Arizona in March. One angle showed the person behind the driver's seat looking down, possibly at a phone; the other through the windshield showed the vehicle hitting the woman. Video released by the local police force, sourced from cameras mounted on the autonomous Volvo SUV that had been modified with Uber's self-driving hardware, showed the safety driver only partially paying attention to the road. Uber will wait until the agency issues its preliminary report on the crash, expected within the next couple of weeks, before it puts its self-driving cars back on the road. Meyhofer also reports that Uber has hired Christopher Hart, the former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, to review the company's safety culture.

According to the publication Arizona Republic, after the decision of the company about 300 of its employees in Arizona will lose their jobs.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is shutting down the company's autonomous vehicle testing operations in Arizona.

However, in a statement Wednesday afternoon, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said he was not aware of Uber's announcement to resume testing this summer until he saw it on social media. The program will be restarted after federal agencies complete their investigations, but initially only in Pittsburgh.

"The governor's focus has always been on what's best for Arizonans and for public safety, not for any one company", said Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato.