Toyota temporarily pauses 'Chauffeur' autonomous car test following Uber incident
Toyota feels the incident could have an 'emotional' effect on their test driversBy Cohen Coberly
Self-driving car tech may be in its infancy but many have long felt it could prove to be a much safer alternative to regular human driving.
While that might very well be the case in the future, the industry hit a bit of a roadblock recently when a vehicle taking part in Uber's self-driving pilot test program in Arizona was involved in a fatal accident.
The accident, which occurred on Sunday in Tempe city, involved the vehicle in question colliding with 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she attempted to cross the road with a bicycle at night. Tragically, Herzberg later died from her injuries in the hospital. The vehicle's operator claimed Herzberg's crossing was "like a flash," giving the driver very little time to react.
Though Tempe police have since said the accident was not likely Uber's fault, the incident seems to be making other industry players a bit uneasy.
Indeed, Toyota could be one of the first companies working on autonomous car tech to get cold feet. According to Bloomberg, the company has temporarily paused their public "Chauffeur" autonomous vehicle tests throughout the US.
"Because we feel the incident may have an emotional effect on our test drivers, we have decided to temporarily pause our Chauffeur mode testing on public roads,"
"Because we feel the incident may have an emotional effect on our test drivers, we have decided to temporarily pause our Chauffeur mode testing on public roads," Toyota spokesperson Brian Lyons said in an email.
Lyons also reportedly claimed Toyota "could not speculate" on the cause of the Uber crash or what it could mean for the future of autonomous car tech. The carmaker did not say when they plan to reinstate the Chauffeur program.