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Uber reaches settlement with family of the homeless woman who was fatally hit by autonomous vehicle

Elaine Herzberg, 49, died after being hit by an Uber self-driving SUV in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe earlier this month

The family of the woman killed by an Uber self-driving vehicle in Arizona has reached a settlement with the ride services company, ending a potential legal battle over the first fatality caused by an autonomous vehicle. 

Cristina Perez Hesano, attorney with the firm of Bellah Perez in Glendale, Arizona, said ‘the matter has been resolved’ between Uber and daughter and husband of Elaine Herzberg.

Herzberg, 49, died after being hit by an Uber self-driving SUV in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe earlier this month. 

Terms of the settlement were not given. 

The law firm representing them said that Herzberg’s daughter and husband, whose names were not disclosed, will have no further comment on the matter as they consider it resolved.

Fall-out from the accident could stall the development and testing of self-driving vehicles, which are designed to eventually perform far better than human drivers and sharply reduce the number of motor vehicle fatalities that occur each year.

Herzberg was jay-walking across a divided four-lane road with her bicycle when she was struck. A video taken from a dash-mounted camera inside the vehicle  showed the SUV traveling along a dark street when suddenly the headlights illuminated Herzberg

Herzberg was jay-walking across a divided four-lane road with her bicycle when she was struck. A video taken from a dash-mounted camera inside the vehicle showed the SUV traveling along a dark street when suddenly the headlights illuminated Herzberg

Other footage showed the human driver who was behind the wheel, Rafaela Vasquez, mostly looking down and not at the road in the seconds before the accident

Other footage showed the human driver who was behind the wheel, Rafaela Vasquez, mostly looking down and not at the road in the seconds before the accident

Uber and microchip developer Nvidia Corp have put self-driving car testing programs on hold following the fatality, which is believed to be the first death of a pedestrian struck by a self-driving vehicle.

The fatality also presents an unprecedented liability challenge because self-driving vehicles, which are still in the development stage, involve a complex system of hardware and software often made by outside suppliers.

Herzberg was jay-walking across a divided four-lane road with her bicycle when she was struck. 

A video taken from a dash-mounted camera inside the vehicle that was released by Tempe police showed the SUV traveling along a dark street when suddenly the headlights illuminated Herzberg in front of the SUV.

Herzberg was taken to hospital but died of her injuries. She is shown (above) in a social media photograph

Herzberg was taken to hospital but died of her injuries. She is shown (above) in a mugshot

Herzberg was taken to hospital but died of her injuries. She is shown (left) in a social media photograph and (right) in a mugshot

Vasquez was traveling at 40mph at the time, well within the 45mph speed limit, and insisted that she was alert but that nothing could have been done to stop the crash

Vasquez was traveling at 40mph at the time, well within the 45mph speed limit, and insisted that she was alert but that nothing could have been done to stop the crash

Other footage showed the human driver who was behind the wheel, Rafaela Vasquez, mostly looking down and not at the road in the seconds before the accident.

Herzberg, 49, known fondly as ‘Elle’ and ‘Ms Elle’, was widely known and liked throughout the homeless community of Tempe, a suburb of Phoenix.

‘She was like everyone’s aunt,’ said Benjamin Jeffrey, a friend of Herzberg and also homeless, who spoke to Reuters last week from an encampment near the scene of Sunday’s accident.

‘She didn’t need to be on the streets and yet she did it with style and with couth and with originality,’ Jeffrey said.

Police said Herzberg was killed while walking her bike across a four-lane road outside the crosswalk when she was struck by an Uber self-driving SUV traveling at about 40 miles per hour.

Friends of Vasquez, 44, defended her, saying that she is an intelligent woman who is devastated by what happened.

Vasquez told police that Herzberg, who had spent time in prison for drug offenses, stepped out in front of her with a bicycle carrying multiple shopping bags and that she had no time to brake before it hit her.

She was traveling at 38 mph at the time, well within the 45 mph speed limit and insisted that she was alert but that nothing could have been done to stop the crash.     



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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