Uber Ends Self-Driving Operations in Arizona

Uber is closing down its self-driving operations in Arizona a few months after a deadly crash.

The tech company announced Wednesday it will lay off 300 Uber workers in Arizona. It said it will focus on its autonomous vehicle efforts in San Francisco and Pittsburgh.

According to CNN, most of those impacted by the layoffs are vehicle operators, who were paid to supervise the vehicles during tests. Uber said it will provide outplacement services, such as resume building and interview prep.

The news comes two months after one of its self-driving Volvos struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.

The Uber vehicle was in autonomous mode with a human driver at the wheel when it struck the woman who was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, Tempe police said in a statement.

At the time, in a statement via Twitter, Uber said the company was "fully cooperating" with local authorities and expressed condolences to the family of the woman killed. The ride-share giant later announced that it would be pausing self-driving car tests in all locations after the deadly accident. Last year, Uber suspended the same program after a different Arizona crash which did not result in any serious injuries.

Last year, Uber suspended the same program after a different Arizona crash which did not result in any serious injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board has studied accidents involving Tesla's autopilot technology, but those cars operate with different technology than what Uber was testing.

In December 2016, Arizona governor Doug Ducey said in a statement, "Arizona welcomes Uber self-driving cars with open arms and wide open roads."

But following the fatality, Ducey suspended Uber's ability to test on state roads. Since the crash, Uber has been cooperating with a National Transportation Safety Board investigation.

Uber told CNN it plans to resume tests on public roads in Pittsburgh this summer — once the NTSB's preliminary report has been released.

0comments

The fatal crash in Tempe raised questions about the safety of self-driving vehicles. A recent AAA study revealed Americans are increasingly afraid of riding in self-driving vehicles.

"We're committed to self-driving technology, and we look forward to returning to public roads in the near future," Uber said 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."