What you should know about Uber’s self-driving car fatality

A self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona on Sunday. Here’s what you need to know about the crash, Uber’s autonomous vehicle testing, and what’s next.

What happened?

CNN Digital

The self-driving car hit and killed 49-year old Elaine Herzberg as she walked her bicycle across a street in Tempe, Arizona.

ABC15 Arizona

It’s believed to be the first fatality involving a fully autonomous car.

Based on preliminary information, the car was going approximately 40 mph in a 35 mph zone. Rafael Vasquez, a 44-year-old Uber test driver, was behind the wheel at the time.

Eric Risberg/AP Photo, File

Why was there a driver behind the wheel?

CNN Digital

The car was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash, police said. The car was driving on its own, with a person behind the wheel as a safeguard.


Has Uber responded?

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Uber said it has stopped testing self-driving vehicles throughout the United States and Canada. Uber said it is “fully cooperating” with local officials.

Angelo Merendino/AFP/Getty Images


Which authorities are investigating the crash?

CNN Digital

In addition to the Tempe Police Department, the National Transportation Safety Board said it is launching an investigation. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will ultimately determine if charges are filed.

Chris Carlson/AP Photo

Why did this happen in Arizona?

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Earlier this month, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey updated an executive order to allow self-driving cars to drive on state roads without a test driver behind the wheel.

Maury Phillips/Getty Images for Leigh Steinberg

The state has little inclement weather, making it more appealing for self-driving cars, which have less experience in rain or during snowfall.


Who else is testing self-driving cars?

CNN Digital

Waymo, the self-driving arm of Google’s parent company, is launching a public self-driving car service this year in Arizona. Companies such as GM’s Cruise and Intel are also testing in the state.