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Tesla acknowledges Autopilot was on during crash

Al Jazeera

Electric carmaker Tesla has confirmed its "Autopilot" feature was engaged during a fatal crash last week, a development set to exacerbate concerns over the safety of futuristic vehicles. Autopilot is still far from a completely autonomous driving system, which would not require any involvement by a human. Autopilot is considered part of the second of five levels of autonomous driving, with the fifth being fully autonomous - something once featured in futuristic cartoons but which has moved closer to reality. A Tesla Model X - the latest model - collided with a highway barrier near the town of Mountain View in California on March 23, catching fire before two other cars struck it. The driver was identified by The Mercury News as a 38-year-old man, Wei Huang, an engineer for Apple.


Arizona woman, hit by Uber self-driving car, dies

Al Jazeera

A woman died of her injuries after being struck by a Uber self-driving vehicle in Arizona, police say, prompting the ride-hailing company to suspend ts autonomous-vehicle programme across the US and Canada. Monday's accident in Tempe, Arizona, marked the first fatality from a self-driving vehicle, which are still being tested around the globe, and could derail efforts to fast-track the introduction of the new technology in the US. At the time of the accident, which occurred on the night between Sunday and Monday, the car was in autonomous mode with a vehicle operator behind the wheel, Tempe police said. "The vehicle was travelling northbound ... when a female walking outside of the crosswalk crossed the road from west to east when she was struck by the Uber vehicle," police said in a statement. A spokesman for Uber Technologies Inc said the company was suspending its North American tests.


Waiting in the wings: Dubai's autonomous flying taxis

Al Jazeera

With a whirling buzz from 18 rotors, the pilot-less helicopter gently lifted off the ground and soared up into the afternoon sky, the spire of the world's tallest building visible behind it. The recent unmanned flight by the German-made electric Volocopter represents the latest step in Dubai's pursuit of flying taxis. Dubai already has invested in another model of a flying, autonomous taxi, and is working to design regulations for their use. Putting more passengers in the air could free its already clogged highways and burnish the city's cutting-edge image of itself. "It's public transportation for everybody, so you can use, you can order it, you can pay for the trip and the trip is not much more expensive than with a car," said Alexander Zosel, Volocopter's co-founder.


US investigation after fatal Tesla 'Autopilot' crash

Al Jazeera

The US government has launched an investigation into the safety of automaker Tesla's autonomous driving system after what may be the world's first known death involving "self-driving" technology. A driver of a Tesla Model S car operating the system, which is called Autopilot, was killed in a collision with a truck two months ago, prompting the probe, which was disclosed on Thursday. The investigation comes as Tesla and other automakers are gearing up to offer systems that allow vehicles to drive themselves under certain conditions across a wide range of vehicles over the next few years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it was now investigating 25,000 Model S sedans that were equipped with Autopilot. The accident, according to a report from the Florida Highway Patrol, killed Joshua Brown on a clear, dry roadway on May 7 in the state of Florida.