Self-Driving Uber Kills Pedestrian in Arizona

Police in Tempe, Arizona are investigating an incident in which a self-driving Uber car killed a woman early Monday morning. The woman, identified by police as 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, is the first known pedestrian killed by an autonomous vehicle. 

KSAZ reported that Herzberg was walking outside of a crosswalk when she was struck by a self-driving Uber. Tempe police told KSAZ that the vehicle was in "autonomous mode" when the crash happened but that an operator was behind the wheel.  Local KNXV-TV reported crime tape along with a bicycle and medical equipment that were on the street.

San Francisco-based Uber "paused" its self-driving vehicle operations in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto following the crash, WTAE reported. 

"Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident," Uber said in a statement to Newsweek.

Police also noted that Uber was "assisting" and that it was still an "active investigation."

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi also tweeted condolences and reiterated the company's commitment to help with the investigation.

The National Transportation Safety Board will send a small team of investigators to Tempe, NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss told Bloomberg. The organization opens "relatively few" highway accident investigations each year and is following incidents with autonomous or semi-autnomous cars. 

Last year, NSTB said Tesla's Autopilot system was partially at fault for a fatal crash in Florida in 2016.

Uber's self-driving cars have been the subject of controversy following several accidents. Last month, Jessica McLemore said a self-driving car Uber collided with her car in Pittsburgh. Both sides have disputed what happened before the crash, while reports said there was a safety driver in the car.

Meanwhile, Uber announced earlier this month that it begun using self-driving trucks for freight on Arizona's highways.