But it will set up shop in at least two other US states. Eventually.
Earlier this year, an Uber Volvo XC90 modified with the ride-hailing company’s latest self-driving technology, struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. Although the pedestrian was walking outside a crosswalk with her bicycle on the four-lane road, the SUV’s advanced technology should have detected her and reacted. There was a safety operator (translation: a human being) behind the wheel who was looking down moments before the crash.
Because of the crash and in light of the state’s governor suspending Uber’s self-driving testing permit, the company has instead opted to leave Arizona entirely, according to Reuters. It hopes to resume self-driving testing operations later this summer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and two other cities in California. Before that gets underway, however, Uber needs to mend things with regulators in both states in order to secure permits. “We’re committed to self-driving technology, and we look forward to returning to public roads in the near future,” the spokeswoman said. The fatal crash is still under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, who is expected to release a preliminary report of its findings in the next two weeks.
Because Uber has shut down its Arizona operations, it will assist its now former employees in finding new jobs. The fleet of Volvos will also be transferred to other cities. Not so long ago, Arizona was anxious to bring Uber to the state, and Uber was more than willing to go. The state has business friendly regulations and, perhaps more importantly, ideal testing conditions: wide, flat roads and good weather year round. Since the fatal crash, the victim’s family accepted a settlement from Uber while the company itself has conducted its own internal investigation. It has also fully cooperated with the NHTSA. More than likely, it won’t be too long before Uber’s self-driving test fleet is back in action, just not in Arizona.