Toyota halts self-driving car tests after Uber fatality

Toyota will temporarily stop tests of self-driving cars following a fatal accident involving a driverless vehicle operated by Uber.

The Japanese automaker announced on Tuesday that its Toyota Research Institute has suspended testing of Chauffeur mode on public roads, saying the Uber incident “may have an emotional effect on our test drivers.” Chauffeur is Toyota’s platform for autonomous vehicles.

“We cannot speculate on the cause of the incident or what it may mean to the automated driving industry going forward,” Toyota said in a statement.

Some developers of autonomous vehicle technology are re-examining their test programs and safety precautions in the wake of an incident in Tempe, Arizona, where a pedestrian who was walking outside a crosswalk was struck and killed by a self-driving Uber vehicle. The car, which was operating in autonomous mode at the time of the accident, had a safety driver behind the wheel. Police are investigating.

Uber said Monday it would suspend tests on public roads in four cities. A Hyundai executive told Reuters that the South Korean manufacturer remains cautious about developing driverless vehicles, citing the Uber accident.