Regulators in Arizona see no need to review or change autonomous vehicle laws in the state following a fatal accident between a self-driving Uber test vehicle and a pedestrian this week.
In 2015, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey implemented an executive order making it easier for automakers and tech companies to test self-driving vehicles on public streets. Arizona’s sunny weather and smooth open roads make it the perfect place to test out the latest autonomous hardware and software, and according to data obtained by Reuters, there are currently more than 600 self-driving vehicles in the desert state.
This week, one of those test vehicles, an autonomous Volvo XC90 outfitted with Uber’s own self-driving technology, hit and killed a pedestrian. Arizona regulators don’t see the fatal accident as a sign that autonomous vehicle testing is out of hand in the state, however, and say there are no issues with current the laws in place that allow companies to test the vehicles in a public setting.
“We believe we have enough in our laws right now to regulate automobiles,” policy director at the Arizona Department of Transportation, Kevin Biesty, said in a statement made to Reuters. “There will be issues that the legislature will have to address in the future as these become more widespread.”
Biesty added that the Arizona DOT is awaiting further details on the accident before drawing any major conclusions from it. Police are still investigating the incident and are believed to have obtained footage from a forward-facing camera fixed to the Uber test vehicle. Tempe Arizona Police Chief Sylvia Moir said this week the victim stepped out in front of the vehicle and it’s “very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode.”
Uber has halted the testing of its autonomous test cars in multiple cities as it awaits further details on the incident. Toyota also halted testing of its autonomous vehicles after the accident this week, citing a desire to keep the stress levels of its autonomous vehicle operators in check.