The Uber self-driving car programme in Arizona has been halted by the state governor, Doug Ducey.
He said the decision is connected to the “disturbing and alarming” dashcam footage from a fatal crash that killed a 49-year-old pedestrian.
This is contained in a letter the governor sent to Uber executive Dara Khosrowshahi saying he has directed transportation department officials to suspend Uber’s ability to test or operate self-driving vehicles on public roads.
“I found the video to be disturbing and alarming, and it raises many questions about the ability of Uber to continue testing in Arizona,” Ducey said in the letter, a copy of which was posted online.
“In the best interests of the people of my state, I have directed the Arizona Department of Transportation to suspend Uber’s ability to test and operate autonomous vehicles on Arizona’s public roadways,” Ducey added.
Uber put a temporary halt to its self-driving car program in the US after the March 18 accident that resulted in the death of a woman.
“We proactively suspended self-driving operations in all cities immediately following the tragic incident last week,” an Uber spokesperson told AFP.
“We continue to help investigators in any way we can, and we’ll keep a dialogue open with the governor’s office going forward.”
In what appears to be the first death caused by an autonomous vehicle, the woman was struck while crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, according to Tempe police.
The dashcam footage of the accident showed the Uber vehicle operator appearing to be distracted, then gasping in horror seconds before the impact.
In what might be a ray of hope for the programme and Uber, the police chief Sylvia Moir told the San Francisco Chronicle last week that, while the investigation continued, “it appears that the Uber would likely not be at fault”.
“It’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway,” Moir said.