We’ve long been warned about letting AI get on the road for a Sunday drive instead of you getting behind the wheel yourself. Things don’t always go right, even if AI has the potential to be more safe and reliable than humans.
But it wasn’t a real concern after millions and millions of test miles… until Uber’s testing program reached its final mile in Tempe, Arizona after inadvertently striking a pedestrian and causing her death.
The accident is said to have occurred while a human director was behind the wheel. At this time, it’s believed the human did not do anything to cause the accident.
Uber’s initial response has been to suspend testing in all cities they’re currently deployed, including Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto. And to our relief, they’re being pretty transparent about the whole thing and playing along quite nicely with city officials who are tasked with figuring this mess out.
It’s tough to say what’s going to happen from here. Obviously, lawmakers and regulators will look to reevaluate their current stances on autonomous vehicles and whether such technology is fit for the road. There are bound to be those out there keen on treating this like a rabid dog that needs to be put to rest, but let’s also not forget that cars were hitting people long before computers made them do it, and far more frequently.