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Uber Shutting Down Self-Driving Operations In Arizona

Uber self-driving car
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
/
file | staff
An Uber self-driving car in Tempe in 2017.

Uber is closing self-driving operations in Arizona, the company confirmed Wednesday morning.

Operations had been suspended since March after one of the company's self-driving  vehicles hit and killed a 49-year-old woman in Tempe.

“We’re committed to self-driving technology, and we look forward to returning to public roads in the near future. In the meantime, we remain focused on our top-to-bottom safety review, having brought on former NTSB Chair Christopher Hart to advise us on our overall safety culture,” an Uber spokesperson said in an email.

About 300 employees worked on the Arizona branch of the project. Uber will provide “outplacement services” to try and help those people find other jobs.

Uber said it is not halting its self-driving program in other cities and it will be "doubling down" efforts in Pittsburgh and San Francisco engineering hubs.

Arizona was the primary location for operations testing.

NPR reported Uber did not seek to renew its permit in March to test autonomous cars in California. 

The company will continue to maintain regular ride-sharing operations and a support center that employs more than 500 people.

Mariana Dale rustles up stories as a senior field correspondent based out of KJZZ’s East Valley Bureau in Tempe. She’s followed a microphone onto cattle ranches, to the Dominican Republic and many places in between. Dale believes in a story’s strength to introduce us to diverse perspectives, inspire curiosity and hold public leaders accountable for their actions. She started at KJZZ on the digital team in 2016 and still spends a lot of time thinking about how to engage with our community online. Dale has learned from stints at Arizona Public Media, The Arizona Daily Star, The Arizona Republic and as an intern at NPR’s Morning Edition in Culver City. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Dale is grateful for the mentoring of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, the Chips Quinn Scholars program and AIR’s New Voices Scholars. A desert native, she loves spending time outside hiking, tending to her cactus and reading.