Arizona pulls Uber's permit to test self-driving cars

"We will take strong action against any company or operator that does not demonstrate they are ready for prime-time," Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Tuesday.

By Susan McFarland

March 27 (UPI) -- After seeing the United States' first deadly accident involving an autonomous vehicle, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has pulled Uber's license to test its self-driving cars anywhere in the state.

Ducey sent a letter informing Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi of the decision Monday.


The revocation follows the accident on March 18, when a self-driving Volvo operated by Uber killed a woman on a bicycle near Arizona State University. Last week, police released video footage of the crash.

"Autonomous vehicles hold enormous promise. For me, from the beginning, it's all been about public safety," Ducey added in a series of tweets Tuesday. "Can this technology reduce fatalities? Our cars are safer, our roads are safer, but human-case fatalities keep going up."

"I found the video to be disturbing and alarming, and it raised many questions about the ability of Uber to continue testing in Arizona," the governor wrote in the letter to Uber.

Footage from inside the SUV shows the human operator looking down in the moments before the crash, which is believed to be the first U.S. death involving an autonomous vehicle.


RELATED Arizona police release video that shows deadly Uber crash

Uber immediately suspended testing for its self-driving cars pending an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Ducey's move, though, will keep Uber's vehicles off the road until further notice.

Uber said the company would comply with the governor's order.

"We proactively suspended self-driving operations in all cities immediately following the tragic incident," Uber said in a statement. "We continue to help investigators in any way we can, and we'll keep a dialogue open with the governor's office to address any concerns they have."

"Arizona has allowed this technology to test and flourish. We will continue to encourage innovation. But public safety comes first," Ducey tweeted. "We will hold companies accountable. We will enforce the law. We will take strong action against any company or operator that does not demonstrate they are ready for prime-time."

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