What does the first pedestrian fatality mean for self-driving cars? | Michigan Radio
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What does the first pedestrian fatality mean for self-driving cars?

Mar 20, 2018

An Uber self-driving car being tested in Pittsburgh.
Credit Rex / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

The inevitable has happened. On Sunday, a self-driving car operated by Uber in Tempe, Arizona, struck and killed a woman as she walked her bike across an intersection. The car was in self-driving mode with a human backup driver.

In response to the accident, Uber suspended all road-testing of its autonomous vehicles in Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto.

But what consequences could this accident have on the emerging technology that could be a huge part of Michigan's future economy?

Lionel Robert, an associate professor of public information at the University of Michigan, has been investigating how and whether pedestrians can trust autonomous vehicles.

He joined Stateside to discuss the incident in Tempe, the overall safety of the vehicles in the short and long term, and how cities should communicate with residents about autonomous vehicle testing.

He also spoke about the regulatory atmosphere surrounding self-driving cars and the history of public fear in reaction to technological innovation.

Listen above.

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