Following the recent news that one of Uber’s self-driving test vehicles in Arizona had fatally struck a pedestrian there, execs at Toyota have decided to temporarily put a pause to their own self-driving vehicle test program.
The pause is apparently intended to give the self-driving vehicle test “drivers” a break, so as to avoid possible unneeded stress.
A statement from the company notes that “the incident may have an emotional effect on our test drivers. This ‘timeout’ is meant to give them time to come to a sense of balance about the inherent risks of their jobs.”
It’s noteworthy here that Toyota and Uber were recently discussing a possible collaboration relating to self-driving vehicles.
Reuters provides more: “Separately, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix said it was awaiting the results of an investigation by Tempe police of the fatality before reviewing whether any charges should be filed. Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also are investigating the accident … Mitchell’s office said the mayor has not asked other autonomous vehicle companies to suspend testing in the city.”
Something to remember here is that Waymo actually reportedly began using self-driving vehicles without humans present at all in Arizona in recent months. It’s unclear if the company has suspended these tests yet or not.
Also worth remembering is that Waymo/Google self-driving vehicles have logged more miles than any other firm’s test vehicles, without there being any serious accidents to date. It seems that’s yet another data point showing that Waymo/Google is far closer to commercial readiness than any of its competitors are.
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