Over eight months ago, a self-driving vehicle struck a pedestrian as she walked her bike across the street in Tempe, Arizona. Her injuries proved fatal, but her passing left a mark on the autonomous vehicle industry. Uber brought its self-driving vehicle program to a halt, including its vehicle testing here in Pennsylvania. The company said that it’s ready to resume testing in the Pittsburgh area. Will officials let the company proceed?
Is Self-Driving Vehicle Testing Coming Back to Pennsylvania?
In a letter to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Uber announced that it has asked Pennsylvania for permission to resume autonomous vehicle testing. Uber paused the program due to the fatal crash in Tempe, Arizona. However, many things have changed in our state since Uber put its testing program on pause.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) issued new guidelines for autonomous vehicle testing in our state. Politicians in Harrisburg have yet to draft new laws limiting the scope of self-driving vehicle tests. Despite this lack of regulation, Uber says it will abide by the guidelines set out by PennDOT. The company says it will not resume self-driving vehicle tests until it receives an approval letter from the state transportation agency.
Has Uber Made Changes to Its Autonomous Vehicle Testing Program?
Uber also says that it has implemented several safety improvements to prevent another tragedy like the one in Arizona. Among those measures are: Third-party monitoring of safety drivers, time limits for safety drivers, and the addition of an extra safety driver during testing. The company also says that it has improved its software to recognize objects faster. The software has been adjusted so it can take safety precautions if it is confused about an object.
Do you think these measures are enough? Should there have been a bigger response from the lawmakers in our state? We will continue to monitor Uber’s progress in creating a safe self-driving vehicle. If you find yourself injured by an autonomous vehicle gone haywire, contact the Grutzmacher Law Firm immediately. We may be able to help you protect your rights, so don’t hesitate to call.