Uber’s Self-Driving Fatality Will Not Halt UK Trials Say Land Rover

Tue 20th Mar 2018

The UK’s biggest carmaker, Jaguar Land Rover, will continue testing autonomous vehicles in Britain, despite the accident involving Uber’s trials which caused the fatality of a pedestrian in the United States.

JLR have been trialling their autonomous cars in the Midlands and are keen to continue the trials to help them understand the limits of emergency braking assistance on the vehicles.

The UK government has also being testing smaller self-driving vehicles in London, and those trials are due to end on Friday, though they have come against a backdrop of fears over road safety and cybersecurity.

Elaine Herzberg, 49, became the first pedestrian to die after being hit by an autonomous car, when Uber’s trial vehicle struck her in Tempe, Arizona on Sunday. She was wheeling her bike and was struck by Uber’s Volvo and later died in hospital. Police in Arizona suggested that Herzberg walked out suddenly in front of the vehicle.

Despite concerns, insurance and motor industry executives are suggesting that there will be many safety benefits to autonomous cars – 90% of accidents caused by human error.

“Autonomous vehicles present us with a great future opportunity to make our roads safer,” Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence at the University of Sheffield told theguardian.com. “But the technology is just not ready yet and needs to mature before it goes on the road. Too many mistakes and the public may turn its back on the technology.”

London has already introduced one form of autonomous transport, with pods being used on cycle patches around Greenwich, but they suffered a minor hiccup when roads minister, Jesse Norman crashed into a barrier.