It had to happen. A self-driven car operated by Uber struck and killed a pedestrian Sunday night in Tempe, AZ, and now the company has halted all of its current autonomous vehicle operations in Pittsburgh, Tempe, San Francisco and Toronto because of the crash.
The car was in autonomous mode, but there also was a human driver in the vehicle. However, apparently that driver could not react quickly enough to avoid the woman who was not in a crosswalk.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, in a tweet, referred to the "incredibly sad news out of Arizona," and said the company is working with local law enforcement. Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board was sending a team to investigate.
The question, of course, is what will this mean, if anything, to the overall movement to self-driving vehicles -- not just for companies like Uber, but for the rest of us? And what about those self-driving tractor trailer rigs that are being developed?
In May 2016, a Tesla Model S car on autopilot struck a tractor-trailer in Florida killing the Tesla's driver, but government investigators said "over reliance on vehicle automation" contributed to the crash.
But that hasn't stopped Tesla. Indeed, the company is moving forward with its all-electric semi capable of pulling an 80,000-pound load for 500 miles on a single charge -- and it can drive itself. Here's the company's description:
"And every single Tesla Semi will come with the company's Autopilot system standard, which will not only allow the truck to mostly drive itself on the highway like any other Tesla, but communicate and move in tandem with other Tesla Semis to form an autonomous convoy as well."
I'm a big believer in technology. I believe strongly that technology is good. But, I'm sorry, I don't like the idea of huge rigs like this one heading towards me in tandem with other similar trucks at 60 mph with a half-asleep "driver" paying little or no attention to what's ahead.
And I don't like the idea of driverless cars, either, much less driverless Ubers. When I get in a car like that, I want there to be a driver that I can talk to and who can make certain that I get to my destination safely and in one piece.
Maybe it's just me.