Nvidia is temporarily stopping testing of its autonomous vehicle platform in response to last week’s fatal collision of a self-driving Uber car with a pedestrian. TechCrunch confirmed this with the company, which offered the following statement:
Ultimately [autonomous vehicles] will be far safer than human drivers, so this important work needs to continue. We are temporarily suspending the testing of our self-driving cars on public roads to learn from the Uber incident. Our global fleet of manually driven data collection vehicles continue to operate.
Update: Shortly afterwards, the statement was apparently improved on internally and the following appended (brackets mine, replacing acronyms):
The accident was tragic. It’s a reminder of how difficult [self-driving car] technology is and that it needs to be approached with extreme caution and the best safety technologies. This tragedy is exactly why we’ve committed ourselves to perfecting this life-saving technology.
Likely someone pointed out that it wasn’t particularly charming to respond to a fatal system failure in an autonomous vehicle by saying that “ultimately” they’ll be safer, even if it’s true.
Reuters first reported the news.
The manually driven vehicles, to be clear, are not self-driving ones with safety drivers, but traditionally controlled vehicles with a full autonomous sensor suite on them to collect data.
Toyota also suspended its autonomous vehicle testing out of concern for its own drivers’ well-being. Uber of course ceased its testing operations at once.