As our hearts and wishes go to the family of Elaine Herzberg, who was killed in a crash by an Uber autonomous vehicle, NVidia and Toyota have decided to suspend their autonomous testing on public roads. Ms Herzberg was pushing her bicycle across the road at the time when an Uber Volvo autonomous vehicle crashed into her. There was a safety engineer behind the wheel at the time of the crash but it didn’t prevent the car from stopping in time.
The Nvidia DRIVE platform is used by over 370 companies who are currently developing self-driving technology. These companies include automakers and robotaxi companies and makers of self-driving hardware, such as sensors, said Nvidia Chief Executive Officer Jensen Huang at the company’s annual GPU Conference in the US.
“Toyota Research Institute does not have firsthand information on the tragic traffic fatality in Tempe, Arizona on Sunday, March 18. Our thoughts are first and foremost with the victim’s family. We cannot speculate on the cause of the incident or what it may mean to the automated driving industry going forward. Because we feel the incident may have an emotional effect on our test drivers, we have decided to temporarily pause our Chauffeur mode testing on public roads,” said Toyota Research Institute in a statement.
Toyota’s version of autonomous driving is called “chauffeur”. Uber has decided not to renew their permit to test autonomous vehicles in California which expired over the weekend. In theory, technology is supposed to make things safer for humans and autonomous vehicles, in the long run, should make it safer for everyone. Still, the crash will definitely hamper the progress of how the technology evolves.