Elaine Herzberg, The First Person That Died After Being Hit By An Autonomous Car


Elaine Herzberg was a 49-year old woman in Tempe, Arizona. She died in an accident involving a self-driving car.

The accident happened when she was pushing a bicycle to cross a road, but walked outside the lines of the crosswalk. The self-driving Volvo car that was operated by Uber, was in self-driving mode with a human backup driver at the wheel when it hit Herzberg. She died at a hospital a while later.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi expressed condolences on his Twitter account and said the company is working with local law enforcement on the investigation.

And in response to the accident, the company suspended all self-driving car tests in all U.S. cities.

Tempe police Sergeant Ronald Elcock told reporters that the car was travelling at an average speed of 40mph, with no sign of slowing down before hitting Helzberg.

The Uber vehicle and its human backup, 44-year-old Rafael Vasquez, were the ones to blame. However, there was nothing either of them could do to stop the crash.

The crash that happened in the evening, quickly drew attention and intense scrutiny by the national media. Autonomous cars were seen as a solution to traffic fatalities. And since Herzberg case, they realized that the technology is far from perfect.

Some safety advocates have also concerned about the speed in which these vehicles can travel on public roads.

Helzberg case is the most significant accident involving a self-driving vehicle, since when a Tesla driver was killed by the car back in 2016.