On the evening of March 18th a pedestrian was struck in Tempe, Arizona by a self driving Uber and was pronounced dead by the Tempe police. The car did have a human behind the wheel to assist with the operation. For right now the accident is under further investigation and Uber has announced they will be suspending their self driving program in Tempe, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Toronto until further notice.
Despite self driving vehicles having a tremendous track record, one death is still one too many. With the program met with a lot of scrutiny, it is important that corrections are made to ensure the utmost amount of safety. Even with all the potential that self driving vehicles can provide, insurance companies are not going to want to buy off on them until they are proven to be able to handle day to day traffic situations without incident.
The unfortunate part of technology is the learning during failure. If this was a phone or a computer where the chances of harm were few, then the public would be more patient. But with the rate at which self driving vehicles are put on the roads, it is going to be crucial to ensure safety is at the forefront. Because anymore news of fatal accidents and this could result in the setback of the implementation of self driving vehicles for years.