The chief of police in Tempe, Arizona, where an Uber self-driving car just hit and killed a pedestrian, has told the San Francisco Chronicle that “I suspect preliminarily it appears that the Uber would likely not be at fault in this accident.”
Chief Sylvia Moir explained after viewing the car’s own video of the event that “she came from the shadows right into the roadway,” and that “it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode.”
A lighted crosswalk was nearby but the place where the accident occurred was in the dark. The car would almost certainly have been aware of the pedestrian, but it’s also possible that she moved out in front of the car faster than the car could reasonably be stopped.
The details are known only to Uber and the authorities at present and it wouldn’t be right to speculate too far, but Moir certainly seems to suggest that the latter scenario is a possibility.