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Arizona lifts ban on driverless vehicles


Uber are to resume testing their self-driving cars in Arizona after seeking permission from authorities to restart the program.

The driverless cars have remained off public roads for a 9 month safety hiatus, following a fatal collision earlier this year.

In March, Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation banned the use of the vehicles after a pedestrian was struck and killed by a self-steering Volvo XC-90 SUV as she crossed the road in Tempe, Arizona.

The Governor of the state Doug Ducey called the incident “an unquestionable failure” to comply with public safety standards.

Uber voluntarily halted the program, recalling the vehicles to undergo extensive safety checks.  In a November safety report to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Uber assured the public that safety was ‘at the core of everything we do’, and it had a ‘foundational commitment to safety’. It announced that it was using cars with two human drivers to test and improve autonomous capabilities and enable automatic braking.

They are now authorised for use back in Pittsburgh, home to the Uber Advanced Technologies Group - a laboratory devoted to the bulk of its driverless vehicle research. 

Uber have said that whilst they have permission to test the controversial program again, they have no immediate plans to do so.