An autonomous car model from Uber.

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Angelo Merendino / AFP

The driver of an autonomous Uber vehicle involved in a fatal accident in March 2018 in Arizona, United States, has been charged with manslaughter by the American courts.

She pleaded not guilty, said a statement from local authorities released on Tuesday.

The car in question was driving in Tempe as part of a test program of the automated driving system developed by Uber when it collided with a pedestrian crossing the road on foot, at night, next to her bicycle.

"When a driver gets behind the wheel of a car, it is their responsibility to control and operate that vehicle safely and within the law," said county prosecutor Allister Adel.

The pedestrian not identified by the car

The agency in charge of transport safety in the United States estimated at the end of 2019 that the driver of the vehicle was the main responsible for the shock as she was distracted by her mobile phone at the time of the collision.

But the agency had also implicated the group of VTC.

If the car's sensors had detected the victim 5.6 seconds before the impact, the software was not programmed to recognize her as a pedestrian because she was outside a protected passage, the agency had notably underlined. .

She also deplored the absence of adequate mechanisms to compensate for the possible carelessness of the drivers.

The crash, combined with those involving Tesla cars equipped with driver assistance software, had forced most groups engaged in autonomous driving technology to reassess their safety systems.


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