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Are we ready for self-driving cars?

 In this Dec. 13, 2016 file photo, an Uber driverless car is displayed in a garage in San Francisco. Uber suspended all of its self-driving testing Monday, March 19, 2018, after what is believed to be the first fatal pedestrian crash involving the vehicles. The testing has been going on for months in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto as automakers and technology companies compete to be the first with the technology. Uber's testing was halted after police in a Phoenix suburb said one of its self-driving vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian overnight Sunday. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

AP

In this Dec. 13, 2016 file photo, an Uber driverless car is displayed in a garage in San Francisco. Uber suspended all of its self-driving testing Monday, March 19, 2018, after what is believed to be the first fatal pedestrian crash involving the vehicles. The testing has been going on for months in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto as automakers and technology companies compete to be the first with the technology. Uber's testing was halted after police in a Phoenix suburb said one of its self-driving vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian overnight Sunday. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Lacey Fron, Staff writer

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On March 18, a 49-year-old pedestrian, Elaine Herzberg, was hit and killed by a self-driving car owned by Uber. It is unclear whether the accident was Uber’s fault or the pedestrian’s fault. Regardless of where the fingers are pointing, Herzberg’s cause of death was a wake up call for Uber and other motor vehicle companies researching and building models of self-driving cars. The future vision of self-driving cars will be halted until the solution to these accidents are found.

This is not the first accident that has occurred due to the lack of control over a self-driving, autopilot operating car. According to USA Today, self-driving cars are involved in five times the accidents of conventional cars, but they do not specify the cause of the accidents. “There were no significant signs of the car [in autonomous mode] slowing down as the pedestrian entered the road,” said Sargent Ronald Elcock in a Facebook Live press conference. This may be due to the fact that autonomous vehicles can detect objects and people on their own and usually drive under the speed limit.

Although Uber released self-driving cars in order to reduce the risk of accidents, the company has concluded that more research needs to be done, according to CNN.

In actuality, the cars do serve a purpose in protecting drivers at the wheel. According to waymo.com, with five million miles driven, the Google self-driving car reported only 13 accidents. The Google self-driving cars were not the cause of any of those accidents.

In relation to fully self-driving cars, Tesla released the Model S in 2014 with an autopilot mode option. However, nearly two years after the car was released, a Model S Tesla crashed into the back of a firetruck in California while the car was in autopilot mode. Another incident occurred later that year when a driver, who had been charged with a DUI in the past, gave the excuse to California Highway Patrol Officers, “It’s fine. My car was on autopilot mode.” According to a Tesla spokesperson, drivers should not be depending on autopilot mode in the Model S as much as you would for a self-driving car.

As police investigated Herzberg’s death, they discovered that she had not been using a pedestrian crossing. Herzberg was crossing her bike, from the east side of Mill Avenue to the west side, in the middle of the street.

“It is not time for self-driving cars yet,” Jadis Kidimbu commented on a Facebook Live stream of the Tempe Police Department’s press conference about the accident.

“Please use crosswalks when crossing the street. Nobody wants to go through this ever again. Tempe’s safety is our number one concern,” said Sargent Elcock.

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Are we ready for self-driving cars?