A driverless Uber struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona in what is the first pedestrian fatality involving the technology.
The event will decrease consumer confidence in the technology but is unlikely to stop it. After all, there were 6,000 pedestrian deaths in the US in 2017 (which is a 9% increase over 2016). Driverless technology is not perfect, but it still may be safer than what we have now.
Insurance issues for driverless vehicles remain unresolved. Is the car owner at fault (personal liability) or the car manufacturer (product liability)? In the Arizona case its certain everyone involved will be sued.
And why the big increase in pedestrian deaths? Distracted driving and distracted walking. Apparently the woman killed in Arizona walked right into traffic at 10pm outside the crosswalk and the Uber back-up driver didn’t appear to be even watching the road.
Be careful out there!
Image: Steve Jurvetson via Wikimedia Commons