49-year-old woman killed by self-driving vehicle

In a perfect world, self-driving cars would be flawless pieces of technology that do exactly what they are set out to do without getting into any problems. Self-driving cars would be whirring marvels of precision and efficiency. No two vehicles would ever come in contact with one another, and they would effortlessly glide on and off the freeway. It would be like a scene out of a science fiction movie.

Alas, that world isn't our world. Self-driving cars are still very much in their infancy, with companies all across the world competing to perfect the technology. In the meantime, we have various companies here in the U.S. testing out self-driving cars on the roads -- and one of them just made a grave mistake.

In Arizona, a woman was crossing the street with her bike when a self-driving car -- with a test driver behind the wheel -- came barreling towards her without stopping. It was going five miles per hour over the speed limit. It crashed into the woman and killed her. The vehicle was an Uber self-driving car, and the company immediately pulled their entire fleet of autonomous vehicles off the road.

The test driver was not in control of the vehicle at the time of the crash, because the vehicle was in it's autonomous mode, fully operating on it's own. The question now is: why was the vehicle breaking the speed limit, and why didn't it slow down or stop before reaching the intersection?

Source: CNN, "Uber self-driving car kills pedestrian in first fatal autonomous crash," Matt McFarland, March 19, 2018 

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