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Florida Eases Self-Driving Car Rules: Are States And Cities On The Hook For Mishaps?


Jurisdictions might be on-the-hook for their self-driving car laws that allow autonomous cars and for which might get into mishaps or crashes. Florida just passed a law that widens the door for self-driving driverless cars to roam their public roadways and do so without any human back-up driver involved. Some see dangers afoot, others see progress and excitement. Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, declared that by approving the new bill it showed that "Florida officially has an open-door policy to autonomous vehicle companies." There are now 29 states that have various driverless laws on their books, per the National Conference of State Legislatures: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, plus Washington, D.C. Here's a question that some politicians and regulators are silently grappling with, albeit some think that they have the unarguably "right" answer and thusly have no need to lose sleep over the matter: Should states, counties, cities and townships be eagerly courting self-driving autonomous cars onto their public roadways, or should those jurisdictions be neutral about inviting them into their locales, or should they be highly questioning and require "proof until proven safe" before letting even one such autonomous car onto their turf?

Uber resumes self-driving car tests in Pittsburgh nine months after fatal crash

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Uber's self-driving cars are getting back on the road today, nine months after one of its autonomous vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona. The firm said it's resuming limited testing on public roads in Pittsburgh. The return of testing comes days after the state of Pennsylvania granted Uber permission to resume testing. A fatal accident involving a pedestrian and one of Uber's self-driving vehicles could have been prevented, a new report claims. An employee warned the ride-sharing giant that there were issues with Uber's autonomous-driving technology just days before Elaine Herzberg, a 49-year-old Arizona woman, was struck and killed.

Uber gets green light to resume self-driving car tests on Pennsylvania roads after fatal crash

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Authorities in the US state of Pennsylvania have given Uber the green light to resume testing self-driving cars, the ride-sharing giant said Tuesday, after a fatal crash in Arizona prompted a pause. Uber said it had received authorization to put autonomous cars back on the road in Pittsburgh, where it has a lab devoted to the technology, but has yet to actually do so. The San Francisco-based company suspended use of self-driving cars in March after one struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. Authorities in Pennsylvania have given Uber the green light to resume testing self-driving cars, the ride-sharing giant said, after a fatal crash in Arizona prompted a pause. A fatal accident involving a pedestrian and one of Uber's self-driving vehicles could have been prevented, a new report claims.

Uber to RESUME testing self-driving cars after a mother-of-two killed by one earlier this year

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Uber Technologies Inc's UBER.UL is plotting the return of its self-driving cars, but the company known for its hard-charging style is taking a much more conservative approach as it tries to recover from a fatal accident that upended its autonomous vehicle program. After it receives approval from the state of Pennsylvania, Uber plans to begin driving'a handful' of cars on a mile loop between two company offices in Pittsburgh, where Uber first debuted its autonomous vehicles in 2016, company spokeswoman Sarah Abboud said. The new diminutive launch is a dramatic downsize from Uber's previous operation. The company in the past unleashed its fleet in autonomous mode on public roads at high speeds, after dark, in areas crowded with pedestrians and with a single backup driver in the front seat. This time, the cars will not operate at night or in wet weather, and will not exceed speeds of 25 miles per hour, Abboud said.

Uber lays off 100 safety drivers following a fatal crash in Arizona

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Uber's dreams of a fleet of self-driving taxis may be on the rocks, if the firm's latest move is anything to go by. The ride-hailing company laid off 100 safety drivers after autonomous vehicle tests were suspended in the US, following a high profile crash in Arizona. Uber initially said it was not shuttering its entire autonomous vehicle program in the aftermath of the incident, in which 49 year old Elaine Herzberg died. Instead, it announced it was focusing on more limited testing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and California, aiming to resume self-driving this summer. That decision may have been revised, if the latest news is anything to go by, with all 100 redundancies at its Pittsburgh base of operations.

Uber Shutters Self-Driving Program in Arizona

U.S. News

Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] is not shuttering its entire autonomous vehicle program, a spokeswoman said, but rather is focused on more limited testing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and California. It aims to resume self-driving operations this summer.

Operator of self-driving Uber vehicle that killed pedestrian was felon

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Tempe police speak at a press conference to address the accident where a self-driving Uber killed a pedestrian. In this file photo taken in 2016, pilot models of the Uber self-driving car are displayed at the Uber Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. PHOENIX -- The operator behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber vehicle that hit and killed a 49-year-old woman Sunday night had served almost four years in an Arizona prison in the early 2000s on an attempted armed robbery conviction. A representative for Uber declined to comment on the conviction and the company's hiring policies, citing an active investigation. Elaine Herzberg was walking a bike across a street outside a crosswalk in Tempe, Ariz., at about 10 p.m. when she was hit, police said.

Uber, Toyota seek self-driving car tech deal


Uber and Toyota are in talks to use the ride-hailing service's self-driving technologies in Toyota minivans. According to the Japanese publication Nikkei, Uber is already well underway in forging partnerships with automakers, but Toyota is a key player in the potential adoption of Uber self-driving technologies in commercial vehicles. Nikkei reports that Uber and Toyota are currently in negotiations to include Uber's technologies in a Toyota minivan model. Shigeki Tomoyama, a Toyota executive vice president, and Gill Pratt, part of Toyota's artificial intelligence (AI) development team, met with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi this week at the Uber R&D center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Uber's self-driving technology includes LIDAR laser scanning and sensor systems, mapping capabilities and data collection, and is already being tested in Pittsburgh.

Congress Is Finally Working on National Self-Driving Car Regulations


Seven years after Google started developing robocars, 13 months after a Florida man died in a Tesla Model S that was driving itself, and almost a year after self-driving Ubers started picking up passengers in Pennsylvania, Congress might actually start regulating autonomous vehicles. Nearly everyone working on this emerging technology, from automakers to the tech companies to the government watchdogs, agrees that it's about time. The robocars scurrying about places like Austin and Boston and San Francisco operate under a mélange of state and local rules that lay down different requirements and appease myriad special interests. And if this patchwork persists, bringing these cars to the market could be a major headache. Last week, the Senate published bipartisan principles outlining what the legislation might look like.

Pittsburgh proceeds with caution on Uber's self-driving cars - CNET


Uber's self-driving cars might be losing their shine in former steel town Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. To Pittsburgh, a former steel town, Uber's driverless car experiment seems to be losing its shine. Just nine months after Pittsburgh welcomed the project with open arms, the city's relationship with Uber has soured, The New York Times reported Monday. Among the complaints from officials and residents: Uber is reportedly charging for driverless rides that were pitched as free, has withdrawn support from the city's application for a federal transportation grant, and hasn't created jobs it promised in a struggling neighborhood that houses the self-driving car testing track. Evidence of a strained relationship between the city and company surfaced last month when the city was reportedly asking the ride-hailing startup to commit to giving back more to the community before it would greenlight the project.