Uber Shuts Down Self-Driving Car Testing After Killing Arizona Woman

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk

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Henry Rodgers Capitol Hill Reporter

Uber is shutting down its self-driving car tests in Arizona after one of its vehicles struck and killed a woman in March, the company announced Wednesday.

The company contacted about 200 Arizona workers in the self-driving division, telling them they were being terminated Wednesday morning. Although Uber has not used the self-driving cars in Arizona since the fatal crash, the employees were still being paid to work on the autonomous car program, according to The Arizona Republic.

“We’re committed to self-driving technology, and we look forward to returning to public roads in the near future,” Uber officials wrote in a statement. “In the meantime, we remain focused on our top-to-bottom safety review, having brought on former NTSB Chair Christopher Hart to advise us on our overall safety culture.”

This news comes after Rafaela Vasquez, 44, the operator of the autonomous Volvo, who was in the driver’s seat, reportedly had the car in self-driving mode when she struck a woman who was walking outside the crosswalk in March. According to Court records obtained by the Arizona Republic, Vasquez served three years and 10 months in a state prison for convictions on attempted armed robbery and unsworn falsification. (RELATED: Operator Of Driverless Uber That Killed Arizona Woman Was A Felon)

Uber has an operations center in downtown Phoenix with around 550 employees, not including drivers, and announced plans to hire around 70 additional employees.

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