Boston Asks 2 Self-Driving Car Companies To Pause Testing


BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- The City of Boston has asked two local companies to pause testing of autonomous vehicles after a woman was struck and killed by a self-driving car in Arizona Sunday night.

Gina Fiandaca, head of the city's Transportation Department, issued a statement Monday calling on the companies nuTonomy and Optimus Ride to temporarily stop operations on the city's public streets.

The pedestrian was killed in Tempe, a suburb of Phoenix. The car, owned by Uber, was in autonomous mode, the company said--though a driver was behind the wheel at the time. 

Self Driving Car Kills Pedestrian In Arizona - Thumbnail Image

Self Driving Car Kills Pedestrian In Arizona

In response, Uber suspended their self-driving car tests across the country.

Sen. Ed Markey released a statement concerning the fatal Arizona incident, saying it "underscores why we need to be exceptionally cautious when testing and deploying autonomous vehicle technologies on public roads."

Callers to WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Bradley Jay overnight cautioned not to give up on the technology.

"I think they have some work to do on it, but I don't believe you really should shut it all down," said one caller. "Give it some time, and I think it's going to take off okay. I'm sure people felt the same way when the first car was on the road."

And the city isn't giving up on the tech--they're indicating they'll work with both companies to ensure that both programs can move forward safely.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens reports